Pony Club is a term that is not well known in the U.S., but is very popular overseas. The term “pony”, which dates back in the late 20’s, referred to the mount of a young equestrian. As a matter of fact, The Horse Institute in Britain started Pony Clubs in 1929.
Bailey Oaks Farms has a Pony Club modeled after the European Pony Clubs. Our program is geared towards kids 5 – 12 years old who have a passion for horses and are interested in learning to ride. Equestrian education is the primary focus, including horse care, terminology and English riding techniques. We work with each child both individually and in a group setting. We have dedicated Pony Club arenas to ensure a safe and positive experience.
What does a young rider learn? A child as young as five typically has the strength needed to carry equipment from the tack room to the stall or designated pony area. They will learn the name of each piece of equipment, what it is used for, how to care for the equipment and how to tack up the horse. Additionally, they will learn the parts of a horse as they learn proper grooming techniques.
Regardless of the student’s age, learning the basics is essential to ensure that each child understands the fundamentals of proper riding to build upon as they advance their skills. During the hour-long lesson, all students are in control of their assigned pony which teaches them responsibility to care for an animal, be respectful of the animal and other riders.
Saddle time is where the student really develops a relationship with the pony. As they begin to develop their skills in handling and directing the pony they learn the animal’s personality. This is an important step in developing a long-term relationship with the animal. While the child is learning how to handle and direct the pony they are also learning the physical riding requirements of a walk. Once the walk is mastered, they move on to learn how to trot and canter.
Since we teach English riding, our Pony Club students will begin learning horse jumping techniques after learning to trot. Small jumps are introduced and mastered before moving on to larger, higher jumps. Lessons are typically 60 minutes long and are once or twice a week. If lessons are in the evening, we have lighting in both our outdoor and covered arenas. Our trainers ensure that riding lesson plans are appropriate for the rider’s skill set in order for the student to have fun and experience a sense of mastery and success.
For more information: www.baileyoaksfarms.com