What is Pony Club?

U.S. Pony Clubs started in 1954 to teach the English style of riding and the proper care of horses. It is an offshoot of the British Pony Club, which was created in 1929 as a junior branch of the Institute of the Horse. Since then, Pony Club has expanded to many countries around the world. The main purpose is to promote sportsmanship, stewardship and leadership through horsemanship.

Back in 1929, the term “pony” was used to describe the mount of a youth equestrian. With a name steeped in the tradition of educating the next generation of equestrians, the name Pony Club continues to focus on education and quality care of both horses and ponies.

In the last decade, Pony Club has strengthened programming to meet the needs of equestrians of all ages. This includes offering Pony Club through established riding centers (such as ours at Chagrin Valley Farms), expanding certifications to include the disciplines of Dressage and Show Jumping, bringing in Western disciplines, adding educational opportunities at the grassroots level through developed standardized curriculum and additional online education, and including land conservation in the Standards of Proficiency. 

We are proud to offer Pony Club programs at Chagrin Valley Farms as of 2023, and excited to build a strong history of outstanding horsemen and women. As one of the newest clubs and riding centers in the nation, we have a legacy to build and shape all our own! 

For more information on how to join the Chagrin Valley Pony Club at the CVPC Riding Center, click here. CVPCRC is a member of the Tri-State Region of U.S. Pony Club. For more information on the Tri-State region and regional resources, click here.


Horsemanship with respect to healthcare, nutrition, stable management, handling and riding a mount safely, correctly and with confidence.

Organized teamwork including cooperation, communication, responsibility, leadership, mentoring, teaching and fostering a supportive yet competitive environment.

Respect for the horse and self through horsemanship; for land through land conservation; and for others through service and teamwork.

Service by providing an opportunity for members, parents, and others to support the Pony Club program locally, regionally and nationally through volunteerism.

Education at an individual pace to achieve personal goals and expand knowledge through teaching others.

What do members do?

All of the registered clubs & centers pledge to incorporate the curriculum and program of the USPC to the extent possible within their programs given resources available. Each club is run by volunteers who deliver the program and centers are run by a combination of staff members and volunteers.

Do I have to own a horse to be a member?

No, but you need access to a horse or pony for lessons and competitions. At our riding center, you can lease or use one of our horses as long as you are a student in our riding academy program.

What do you do at meetings?

At our center, we offer group lessons with members divided by skill level. Unmounted meetings (without horses) are also usually divided by certification (skill) level. For example, D-2s working toward their D-3 certification, may meet regularly to study for the D-3 certification requirements. 

How much does it cost?

You must pay National, Regional, and local dues each year to be a Pony Club member and qualify for recognized certifications.
Regional Dues: $65 annually
National dues: $155 annually (approximate)
Club Dues: For the Chagrin Valley Pony Club, Club dues are included in the membership fees for our regular Academy students, or $125 annually for members who wish to participate with their own horse and are not currently enrolled in the CVF Academy. Club dues for CVF boarders not enrolled in the Academy are $75 annually.

How do I join Pony Club?

Individuals join USPC by becoming a member of the local Pony Club or Riding Center. A club is a group of parents and other adult volunteers who have gotten together to administer the Pony Club program in their area. A center is an equestrian facility that has been recognized by USPC to administer the Pony Club program. Inquire with us to join!

Do parents need to “know” horses?

No, they don’t need to “know” horses, but they will be involved. There are plenty of “non-horsey” tasks to be completed!

Do I need to/can I take riding lessons in addition to Pony Club?

Yes you should! Most members take riding lessons in addition to formal Pony Club events. The Pony Club program is designed to be a supplement to any other formal individual training a member is receiving and provide target goals for student progress and structured learning.

What makes Pony Club different?

There are three things that make Pony Club unique:

  1.  Horse Management: we teach you how to care for your horse & equipment, both at home and while traveling
  2.  Progressive curriculum: our Standards of Proficiency (SOP) build skills and confidence
  3.  Team-based competition (rallies)

Does Pony Club have competitions?

Clubs and Centers send teams to regional “rallies,” or Pony Club competitions. Most rallies have teams of 4 riders and an unmounted stable manager. Teams are judged on both riding skills and Horse Management (the care of their horses & equipment.) Every summer there is a Championships event where members from all over the country come together to compete. We host three of the annual regional rallies here at CVF (Showjumping, Dressage, and Tetrathlon!)

How much parent participation is needed?

Pony Club is largely a volunteer organization and many hands make light work! Ideally, parents (or supporters) should be present during meetings. All families are encouraged to work to make our clubs and region successful. And the rallies require many volunteers. There are even tasks for those who aren’t familiar with horses! We know parents aren’t always available, but by rotating support we can still get it done!

What is a Certification?

Pony Club Members demonstrate their skills and express an appropriate level of knowledge at each certification. Members are evaluated based on the Standards of Proficiency for each section of understanding. Encouraging comments will be noted and shared for the members to review and absorb after completion of their certification.

What are the Standards of Proficiency ?

The Standards of Proficiency (SOP) outline a clear progression of skills in riding and horse management. Members progress at their own pace. The levels of certification start at what is called D Level (beginner), progressing to C Level (intermediate) then to B Level and A Level (advanced).

What styles of riding does Pony Club teach?

Standards of Proficiency are available in Dressage, Eventing, Show Jumping, Hunter Seat Equitation, and Western. No matter what level of certification a riding member tests into they will be required to meet the SOP for both horse care and riding.

Note: clubs may not offer all of the riding styles in their program, but Horse Management is always available and certification can be pursued on it’s own.

Click below to learn more about the region...

To learn more about joining the Chagrin Valley Pony Club, contact us below!