Ratings in Detail
What is a USPC Rating?
Ratings provide an assessment of the mastery of horse management (unmounted) and riding (mounted) skills. Pony Clubbers start out as "unrated". They learn at their own pace and take the test for each rating when they are ready. Readiness is determined by the instructor, CA and child. Each rating includes riding tests (in the ring, in the open, and jumping), stable management, and oral testing.
The D ratings 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.
The C is a Pony Clubber learning to become an active horseperson, 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. Members at the C levels are expected to begin to "give back" to Pony Club by beginning to teach unmounted topics to lower-level members. The C-1 and C-2 ratings are awarded at the club level. The C-3 is a national rating and reflects a basis of competence of riding and horse care that will make possible a lifetime of pleasure with horses.
The B, H-A, and A ratings are national ratings and require great depth of knowledge. Successful candidates are competent, all-around horsepersons, and are active, contributing members of USPC who participate in a variety of Pony Club activities. The Standards of Proficiency for all ratings are outlined in the Pony Club manuals as well as the national website: www.ponyclub.org. (Click on Forms, then Standards of Proficiency or Flowcharts for each level.)
How to plan for taking a Rating:
The WPCRC will offer ratings according to the needs of our members. Ratings given through the club will incur an additional fee per rating. The WPCRC Calendar will identify all important dates. Ratings start with formal inspection and then move to flat work, followed by grids/jumping and for D3 level ratings and above, cross country. Horse management including record books is reviewed at the end of riding. Generally a minimum of two hours for D1/D2 , four hours for a D3, and up to six hours for a C level rating is scheduled.
There generally are mandatory orientations, paperwork and deadlines that you will need to comply with as well but nothing impossibly difficult!
All new members must wait 30 days to take the D1 rating. The club will also offer at least one "rating prep" class for each rating within a month of the rating date. WPCRC tries to host one spring and one fall "D" rating. Those interested in rating up to the C level may have to travel to another location for the rating.
Helpful hints for D Ratings:
* Ratings can be stressful, so don't be too hard on yourself. Remember that no one is perfect! A trainer once said. "if you want perfect, buy a bicycle!" You can only control your own preparation. You horse may not be aware that they need to be on good behavior that day. The D Ratings are meant to be good learning experiences.
* Proper attire for the D ratings is Pony Club Casual. You can read about the difference between proper formal, informal and casual attire in the D Manual. Pony Club Casual includes a polo shirt (tucked in), pony club pin, belt, breeches, tall boots or half chaps, and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) approved helmet bearing the letters SEI (Safety Equipment Institute). Hair should be neatly tied back and we recommend you use a hair net. Most candidates also wear gloves. Clothes must be clean and boots must be polished. D3 candidates will need cross country vests as well to ride in the open.
* Horse must be clean without stains or dirt. Feet must be picked out. Shoeing must be up to date. You horse should show regular care and grooming.
* Make sure your tack is really clean and all the stitching is intact. Have a instructor or upper level pony clubber look over your tack before the rating to make sure that it meets standard.
* Come to the farm with enough time before the start of the rating to give you the chance to do any last minute grooming. Don't forget snacks and water for yourself!
* Each member taking a rating should have one parent present during the entire rating. Parents can help setting up jumps and support the ratings coordinator as needed.
* For D 3 candidates only. The D3 rating is a big step beyond the D2. At the D3 level, you must keep a Health and Maintenance Record Book for at least 3 months. Also you need to know how to put on protective boots and bell boots and know the structures they protect. Finally you will to begin to learn to put on stable wraps.