A-Z of Pony club

The A-Z of Pony Club

A little History

The New Zealand Pony Clubs Association (NZPCA) is a not for profit, youth voluntary organisation for young people interested in ponies/horses and riding.

The NZPCA is represented nationally by its 81 Clubs, 238 Branches and over 9,400 Members.

We provide instruction on riding and horse/pony management with a structured certificate system that allows young people to gain qualifications, promoting the highest ideals of behaviour, sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty, to create strength of character and self discipline.

Riding membership is for children and young adults up to 25 years of age. Riders between the age of 21 and 25 may sit certificates but are unable to participate in national competitions.

The term “pony” reflects the age of members, rather than the size of the mounts. Horses and ponies of many different breeds, shapes and sizes are seen at Pony Club.

A to Z

Areas - There are 16 Pony Club Areas in New Zealand.  Our Area is Canterbury.

Branches – There are 230+ Branches throughout New Zealand. 

Certificates - Pony Club certificates are an essential part of the Pony Club system, providing incentive and encouragement to learn and improve at all levels. Qualified examiners examine each level once members have completed their record cards outlining the objectives of the level. Examinations are not compulsory.

Chief Club Coach – a Club position, liaises with Branch Head Coach.  

Clubs – There are 81 Clubs in New Zealand. Some have as many as 12 member Branches. Our Club is Amberley Pony Club and it is an Incorporated Club.

Committee of Management (COM) – is made up of delegates from each of the 16 Areas, President, 2 Vice Presidents -also Area delegates, Past President, Treasurer, Executive Officer and Coaching Officer. A National Coaches representative also attends meetings, which are held three times a year. The role of the COM is governance, planning, setting policies and procedures and ensuring a vision for the future.

Competitions - riders are encouraged to compete at our Club competitions to put their skills into practice. Canterbury PC organises annual Dressage, Gamblers, Games, Gymkhana, One Day Event and Quiz competitions.

Cross Country – involves jumping fences that are fixed, (do not fall down) and riding over all sorts of terrain. We have a Club rally on our course every few years.

Delegate to COM – elected at Area AGM. The Area Delegate attends Committee of Management meetings. They are an integral part of Pony Club providing a communication link between the Area, its Clubs and Branches and Committee of Management (COM).                                             

District Commissioner / DC – the key person at Club level, usually, but not always chairs Club meetings and ensures that the Branches within the Club run smoothly. Rachael Mahan is our District Commissioner

Dressage - means training, much of what Pony Club is all about! Dressage test – a set of movements’ riders must complete with each movement scored out of 10, sometimes 20 marks. Experienced people judge the tests in a parked vehicle behind the letter C. Dressage Arena – where training usually happens at rallies and dressage or riding tests are ridden at competitions. Arenas come in two sizes, short (40 x 20m) or long (60 x 20m). Riders enter at A. 

ESNZ – Equestrian Sports New Zealand, an equestrian body whose main focus is competition at National and International level.

Equestrian Coaches Training Programme – a correspondence training programme for Coaches and any one else who wants to better their equestrian knowledge.  NZPCA National Coaches wrote the programme, which works through the levels from D to A. Our branch subsidises the costs for Coaches and parents wanting to enroll.

Executive Officer – is responsible for the management of pony club at national level.

Fair Play Charter – all members should have a signed copy of the charter

Gear Inspection - before all rallies and competitions there will be an inspection for safety reasons and to ensure that all equipment worn is allowable under Pony Club Rules. At a competition failure to have gear inspected will result in elimination.

Head Coach – a position at Branch level to coordinate groups at rallies and certificates. Kirstie Winter is our Head Coach for 2022.

Helmet Standards  - When purchasing a helmet ensure it is made to a safety standard recognised by NZPCA & ESNZ

Horse Management – an integral part of rallies where members learn to care for their ponies and their saddlery (tack)

Horse Trials – another name for a One Day Event (ODE)

Inter Pacific – a biennial rally involving teams from Australia, United States of America, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand. Each nation hosts the rally on a rotational basis. Teams comprise of 5 riding members, manager and coach. Each Area in New Zealand may send 2 candidates forward for national selection. Candidates must have attained their B certificate, be good ambassadors and be able to ride a variety of horses. New Zealand’s selection policy states that the team shall include a minimum of 2 members of either gender and a minimum of 1 member from either Island.

National Coaches – NZPCA has seven National Coaches. Each Coach has obtained the British Horse Society qualification. They are available to take courses throughout New Zealand at Branch, Club and Area level and also facilitate at clinics and courses organised by NZPCA.

NZPCA – New Zealand Pony Club’s Association Inc.

ODE –  Stands for One Day Event - a competition, in three phases; dressage, cross country riding, and show jumping. Our ODE is held in May. Our ODE has classes for the four heights starting at 65cm. The degree of difficulty for each division is increased by way of the height and spread of the jumps and the length and speed of the courses, and also by the movements in the dressage test.

Parents Role - Parents play an important role in Pony Club. Assistance is always required at rallies and competitions. Many coaches started their involvement with Pony Club as parents and like any organization, it requires parents as volunteers to make it all happen. The volunteer role is varied and the involvement at Branch level can provide the pathway for roles at National and sometimes International level. There is plenty to do including – administration, judging, working bees, equipment maintenance, fund raising, managing teams, stewarding, catering, picking up rails and of course instructing. 

Plaiting – enhances any pony’s appearance. Ponies are expected to be plaited for most team events, some competitions and for certificate examinations at C+ level and above.

Rally – the engine of Pony Club. Where all members are entitled to attend and some coaching is given or received. National ruling stipulates that members must have participated in at least 5 working rallies to be eligible to sit certificates and compete in representative competitions. 3 of the 5 rallies must be on the mount entered for the certificate or competition. At Amberley Branch  we hold rallies on the second and fourth Sunday’s of the month. Mounted rallies include learning riding skills, horse management, games and other activities. Sometimes a rally will include a trek, and sometimes  we may have guest Coaches. Coaching follows a certificate syllabus, is fun and varied. The rallies start at 10am, which means being on your pony ready to go at that time.

Rider Turnout – we always expect riders and ponies to be well turned out. Pony Club uniform should be worn at all rallies, certificate examinations, North Canterbury club competitions and when competing outside our Club and Area.

Riding jackets - Worn at Area dressage trials and for the dressage phase of the Area horse trial and for A riding examination.

Rule Books – can be purchased from the Executive Officer. They are available as individual books (Association; Area, Club and Branch; Certificate; Horse Trials; Dressage; Team Mounted Games).

Safety - we are involved in a high-risk sport, and for that reason we emphasise safety at all times - wearing a helmet while mounted, wearing sturdy footwear around horses, no jumping on pony club grounds without adult member supervision.  NZPCA also recommends the wearing of body protectors for jumping (they are compulsory for cross country). A rider who has been concussed must not ride for the mandatory minimum 21 days without a Doctor’s written clearance.

An adult holding a current first aid certificate will always be at a rally and there will always be a mobile phone available in case of emergencies.

All accidents of a serious nature are required to be reported to NZPCA.

Show Jumping – show jumping involves jumping fences that can be knocked down as opposed to fixed cross-country jumps. Pony Club uses the rules of Show Jumping New Zealand (ESNZ) for competitions.

Sponsors – NZPCA Perpetual sponsors are Sport New Zealand & Quality Presentations. Dunstan Horse feeds sponsors our local North Canterbury showjumping circuit

Technical Delegate (TD) – a position requiring good knowledge of the rules. A TD is necessary at certificates at C+ level and higher and for competitions. TD’s must ensure that the facilities/courses etc are acceptable. The TD must be impartial and may be required to adopt a mediatory role.

Uniform – full Amberley Pony Club uniform consists of a helmet with a recognised standard as above, white shirt, blue branch tie, yellow club sweatshirt, jodhpurs, riding or jodhpur boots and pony club badge.  Starting out, the two essential items required are a helmet and footwear with heels.

Volunteers – are needed to make Pony Club happen. Required at rallies and competitions for all sorts of jobs. Training is provided for most positions, and for the really keen volunteers, established pathways lead to higher levels of judging, coaching, team managing, TD'ing and administration.

www.nzpca.org - the pony club website. Covers Team Mounted Games, Dressage, Horse Trials, Show Jumping, other competitions, Inter Pacific rallies, Training, Riders pages including quizzes and chat page, Area pages and photo galleries. Many applications forms can be downloaded.