Disciplines & Competitions
The main focus is on dressage (flatwork), showjumping, eventing and games. There are lots of competitions and training days held through the year for both individuals and teams. Most Pony Club rallies include at least 2 of the above disciplines so a great way to see what you enjoy.
Dressage is a French word meaning training. Precision, smoothness, suppleness and complete obedience show off the horse’s gymnastic development. Correct training of the horse, thereby encouraging riders to improve their riding skills by acquiring and establishing an independent seat, and a true knowledge of the aids. The object of Dressage is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse. As a result it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider.
Ideally it should look as if the horse is performing of its own accord, carrying its rider in complete harmony. Each test has a set of movements that are scored individually, rather like the scoring in figure skating, and the overall harmony and precision of the whole exercise is taken into consideration.
Show jumping is a form of competition in which horses are jumped over a course of coloured fences, low walls, and other obstacles (e.g., water-filled ditches or troughs).. The aim is to go clear (knocking rails & refusing at jumps will add faults to your round). There are lots of different types of course, some are also based on speed. If you manage to jump a clear round, you will go through to the jump-off. This is a shortened course which you have to jump as fast as you can as it is timed.
The sport could be termed an “equestrian triathlon”. It involves working with your pony/horse both on the flat and over jumps. Eventing gives Pony Club Members a competition which needs courage, determination and all-round riding ability combined with the careful and systematic training of the horse. Today, the sport is most known for its cross-country phase where horse and rider gallop over an outside course of solid obstacles which the horse has never seen before.The cross country phase is designed to test the horse and rider’s ability over a variety of fixed fences and undulating ground, it should also demonstrate the rider’s knowledge of pace and the use of his horse across country.
Games are great fun and teach both horses and riders many useful skils as well as building confidence.