Frequently Asked Questions

JUMPSTARTWhat is Pony Club?

Pony Club is an International organization that is broken into regions and each region is comprised of local clubs. 
Keeneland Pony Club is a club in the MidSouth Region of the United States Pony Club, Inc., a member of the International Pony Clubs.  (see About KPC and Get Started with KPC)  Pony club provides a structured curriculum of both mounted and unmounted skills and knowledge.  Information for United States Pony Club, Inc. can be found at

Do we need our own pony or horse?

Ownership of a horse or pony is not required for membership, but members must have consistent access to use of the SAME pony or horse and use of a trailer to attend meetings. All mounts must be at least five (5) years old and may NOT be stallions.

How is Pony Club organized on the club level?

Keeneland Pony Club is governed by a group of volunteer officers, including a District Commissioner (DC) and Joint District Commissioner.  For a list of Keeneland Pony Club officers see the Contact page.  Sponsors are anyone who pays the sponsor fee (1 dollar).  Sponsors are allowed to vote at the Sponsors meeting and at monthly Board meetings.  All parents are encouraged to volunteer and attend meetings.

What are mounted meetings?

Mounted meetings are riding lessons given through instructors in groups of usually 3-4 members. Keeneland Pony Club holds most of its mounted meetings at Masterson Station Park. They are usually on Sunday afternoons.

What are unmounted meetings?

Educational horse instruction on a wide range of horse management topics are covered at unmoutned meetings including riding safety, discipline rules and etiquette, nutrition, veterinary topics, farrier, tack, trailering, barn safety, and equine anatomy.

What are Certifications?

Certifications provide a progression for the mastery of the structured curriculum of both mounted and unmounted skills and knowledge.  Certifications are awarded after testing that is offered at least twice a year.  The testing can be “traditional” which includes both riding and horse management or horse management alone, or riding alone.
The D certifications are an introduction to the fun and challenge of riding, establishing a foundation of safety habits and knowledge of the daily care of pony and tack. The D-1 through D-3 Pony Clubber learns to ride independently and with control, maintaining a reasonably secure position at the walk, trot and canter and over low fences. All D ratings are awarded at the club level.  (See Note to Unrated Members)
The C-1 and C-2 is a Pony Clubber learning to become an active horseman, to care independently for his or her pony and tack, and to understand the reasons for what he or she is doing. The C shows development toward a secure, independent seat and increasing control, and confidence in all phases of riding. The C-1 and C-2 ratings are awarded at the club level. 
The C-3, HB, HA, B and A are national certifications and require great depth of knowledge. Successful candidates are competent, all around horsemen who are active, contributing members of USPC. Members at the higher levels should be able to competently run a small barn.
The standards of proficiency for all the certifications are outlined in the Pony Club manuals, as well as on the national 
USPC website .  Links can also be found under the “Levels” pages of our KPC site.

What is a Rally?

A rally is a Pony Club competition (show) where Pony Clubbers in a region compete against each other. 
Rallies are mounted competitions (all but Quiz Rally) usually made up of teams of 4-5. All but one of each team rides in the competition, who acts as the stable manager, helping with all the essential ground work that must be done to support the mounted competitors.  During rallies, parents are not allowed to interact with their children, enter the barn, or help care for the horses – fostering teamwork and leadership. Teams are also judged on horse management skills.

What is Horse Management?

During rallies, each team is required to set up a complete and organized stable containing required equipment. Saddle racks, bridle racks, first aid, equipment, tack, etc. is all set up in the stable. Everything must be labeled, clean, and in good condition. Keeneland Pony Club has supply trunks for rallies which members inventory and mark before each rally. Outside the context of rallies, horse management refers to the general care of horses. Pony Club’s emphasis on exceptional horse management enables members to care for their horses responsibly and safely.

If we participate in the mounted meetings and rallies, do I still need other riding instruction?

Pony Club will hire and schedule instructors and coaches for mounted meetings and rally practices. 
But most of our members work with other instructors in addition to mounted meetings.

What are Checklists?

Checklists track the mastery of the skills for each Pony Club certification level. Members need to have pony club instructors initial and date when the member has mastered each required skill. Checklists must be completed one month before a member may participate in a testing to achieve the next certificate level.

What riding disciplines does Pony Club offer?

Pony Club instruction and/or competition at meetings and rallies are offered in dressage, eventing, show jumping, mounted games, tetrathlon, vaulting, foxhunting, and polocrosse.

What is Quiz Rally?

Quiz Rally is an unmounted competition testing horse knowledge.

What is Dressage?

Dressage is a discipline where the horse performs a series of movements in a flat arena in a prescribed sequence known as a “test.” 
Dressage has been explained as ballet on horseback.

What is Eventing?

Eventing (combined training) is a triathlon for the same horse and rider. The three phases of competition are dressage, cross country and stadium jumping. The different levels of competition are Starter, Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced. The lower levels of combined training competitions are called Horse Trials. Higher levels of competition are conducted over two or three days, the ultimate being the three-day event.

What is Show Jumping?

Show jumping is a timed jumping event. The course is numbered in a sequence of fences (jumps) inside a ring with the goal: to jump cleanly without knocking rails down under the alloted time.

What are Mounted Games?

Mounted games are competitive games played on horseback in teams of either two or four.

What is Tetrathalon?

Tetrathalon combines four events, only one of which is a mounted event: stadium jumping, running, swimming and target-shooting.

What is Vaulting?

Vaulting is similar to gymnastics on horseback with the horse moving in a circle on a lunge line. Vaulting horses need to be specifically trained and extremely steady, and almost always are not used for any other discipline. Therefore, vaulting is not actively offered by Keeneland Pony Club at this time.

What is Polocrosse?

Polocrosse is a mixture of polo and lacrosse on horseback.  It is not currently offered by Keeneland Pony Club.

Jump Start Horse Trials

Jump Start is Keeneland Pony Club’s main fund raiser. It is a horse trial that is generally the fourth weekend in September. We usually have around 350 riders. We organize all of it and it is a big job! Because of this, it is mandatory that all parents help. We understand that not everyone has helped at a horse trial, but we will train you!  If you are not available that weekend, there are several weekends before that you can helping with painting, weeding and setting up the dressage rings.  If your child is riding, we will make sure that you get to see them ride.  Most of all, volunteering at Jump Start is a lot of fun and a good way to get to know everyone. (See KPC Jump Start Horse Trials)

What is a chaperone?

Those of us new to Pony Club have heard about being a chaperone, and have even been delegated the role without truly understanding what it entails!     Have no fear – although it may sound a daunting responsibility, it is no worse than being the team Mom in baseball, or a homeroom parent at school, and you get to watch your own child and their teammates participate in a Pony Club competition with a front row seat. 

The Pony Club website does outline the rules/duties of a chaperone quite well, if a little intimidating reading at first.   The chaperone should be viewed as the “mother (or father) hen”, a buffer between the team members themselves, the team members and their parents, someone who makes sure each team member has adequate food, drinks, any medical needs fulfilled (although administration of such medications is the responsibility of the parent/guardian), a point of contact for Rally Officials, Organizers and Horse Management in case of an equine or human emergency – and therefore most importantly the chaperone needs to be easy to contact, and accessible and available at all times during competition hours.      They are not the team coach, nor the team captain – although with younger teams, it is helpful for the Chaperone to meet with the team members at the beginning of each day to go over any issues they might have, or foresee, and at the end of each day, to problem solve, and plan for the next day of the competition.     

If you are asked to be a chaperone, and do not feel comfortable fulfilling the role, it is important to speak up before the competition starts, so correct contact information can be submitted for each participant.   Often times, new parents want to experience a rally or two as a spectator before undertaking the added responsibility of chaperone which is completely understandable, particularly if you do not know your child’s team members or other parents.

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor can be a parent of a Participating Member who has paid the annual sponsor fee, or any other individual who has expressed an interest in supporting the Club and paid the annual sponsors fee. All persons becoming Sponsors must be approved by the DC, be at least 18 years of age and not be a current Traditional Participating Member. KPC’s annual sponsor fee is $1. Sponsors may be accepted at any time during the year except for the thirty day period prior to the Annual Sponsors’ Meeting and the period from the day notice is given of any Annual, Regular or Special meeting of Sponsors through the day such meeting concludes. All parents are encouraged but not required to become sponsors.
Sponsors meetings are held at least annually but usually quarterly and Sponsors shall be notified of all Sponsors’ Meetings. Sponsors are entitled (and encouraged) to attend and participate in Sponsors’ Meetings with the power to move, discuss and vote on matters properly presented before such meeting. Sponsors may provide suggestions for the operation and administration of the Club. Sponsors may propose amendments to current Club policy or the draft of a new policy at a regularly scheduled Sponsors’ Meeting.  Sponsor meetings play an important role in our club communication.