By Sandra Larson, Contributing Writer:
With a total of sixteen riders and two stable managers having qualified, members of the Greenville Foothills Pony Club are gearing up to compete at the US Pony Clubs Championships East at the end of July.
Pony Clubbers from all along the Eastern part of the United States will be competing at the prestigious event, which will be held for the first time at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, NC.
The competitions will be spread across a variety of disciplines, including polocrosse, games, showjumping, dressage, eventing, tetrathlon and the knowledge-based Quiz competition. Competitors are all entered as teams, typically with four riders, and an unmounted stable manager, who helps keep the team organized and getting to their riding phases on time.
If you come to watch, don’t be surprised to see people riding horses and ponies of all sizes. The term “Pony” in USPC was a representation of the age of the rider (youths), not the size of the mount. Riders up to the age of 25 can be regular youth members of the USPC organization.
Members of all ages enjoy the benefits of participation in Pony Club activities that teach not only riding skills, but horse management, teaching, land conservation, leadership and volunteering. At all competitions, parents are barred from entering the barns, the Pony Clubbers are solely responsible for the proper care of their horses. Coaching is only allowed in warmup areas with approved coaches, and no one can call out instructions while the riders are competing.
Interested in learning more? GFPC will be holding an Open House on August 27 at Riverbend Equestrian Park (175 River Bend Road, Greenville, SC). Riders of all ages are welcome, and horse ownership is not required to be an active member of Pony Club.
For more information on the US Pony Championships East, scheduled to be held from July 27-31, visit the Tryon International Equestrian Center website here.