A young woman and her horse looking ready to compete in Eventing.

Member Spotlight: Sarah Nalls

Age: 21

Club/Region: Five Valleys Pony Club/Big Sky Region

Years in Pony Club: 13

Current certification (and/or certification currently working on): H-B HM, C-1 EV, C-2 HSE

What disciplines and/or activities are you involved in?
Eventing, Dressage, Show Jumping, Hunter Seat Equitation/Hunters, Western, Vaulting, Quiz

A young woman and her horse, smiling at the camera.
Photo Courtesy Sarah Nalls

Tell us about your current mount(s) and what you do with them:
My current mount is Gallos Freckled Gun or Frisco. He is a 12-year-old, registered Quarter Horse that I’ve been riding for around a year and a half. Frisco is a total goofball who enjoys getting all the attention that he can from whoever will give it to him. As I am currently in college, I use Frisco for my riding classes, as well as trail riding and local shows.

Tell us about your goals (with Pony Club, with riding, life):
I plan on passing my H-A certification. I also have plans of one day running my own lesson program and being a traveling instructor! I also enjoy teaching people about equine ethology (the study of equine behavior) and love helping people learn what their horse is really trying to tell them!

What is your favorite thing about Pony Club?
I truly enjoy the knowledge that Pony Club has given me about Horse Management and the ability that I now have to communicate how important it is to have a deep understanding of how to properly take care of our horses.

What is one thing you would tell younger members first joining Pony Club?
Don’t ever feel like you should know everything right off the bat when it comes to riding or horse management! I am still learning stuff to this day, and I’ve been riding since I was five! Keep working and you will succeed! Also, don’t forget to keep up on your record books. If you don’t, they sneak up on you for your certifications and you have to cram all of your records in a short amount of time!!

What is your favorite way to prep for a Horse Management certification?
Certification flashcards are awesome, as well as online study tools, such as Quizlet, which is really a lifesaver! Something else that’s super helpful to me is teaching someone else who knows nothing about horses what you’re talking about. That way, you must be super clear with what you’re explaining and it will cause you to do more in-depth research about what you’re studying!

If you could try out any other discipline or activity, what would it be and why?
I absolutely love the idea of Foxhunting! I love trail riding and cross-country, so I think combining them would be super cool!!

A young woman instructing an individual riding a horse.
Photo Courtesy Sarah Nalls

Favorite Pony Club memory:
I was at our regional camp as an instructor and was invited to partake in a Big Sky Region tradition, the pony painting fairies. For all of the younger kids, we go around the stalls at night check, once everyone is in bed, and take washable paint and paint funny things that go with the horses’ names or something we know that the kids like on their ponies’ rumps or faces. Being able to watch the next day as the kids found their ponies all painted and the little shrieks of joy that were let out once they were told that fairies come to do this every year on the last day of camp was so rewarding! I’ll never forget painting a Jalapeño on a sassy little pony named Pepper!

What makes you #PonyClubProud?
I am #PonyClubProud when I can use what I have learned to help others who need it. Being able to help people find a supportive organization to learn and grow in is an awesome feeling!

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