A Mega Rally is an event where teams of horses and riders compete in the disciplines of show jumping, dressage, eventing and tetrathlon (running, swimming, riding and marksmanship). This year, Western dressage and trail riding have been added.
The Midwest Region includes all or parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and the Dakotas. Approximately 85 competitors from these states will be in attendance, vying to qualify for the Pony Club Festival competition in mid-July at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. The Festival is considered a national championship competition.
The mission of the United States Pony Clubs, Inc., is to develop character, leadership, confidence and a sense of community in youth through a program that teaches the care of horses and ponies, riding and mounted sports.
“A Pony Club Rally, unlike a regular horse show, gives pony club members the opportunity to compete as part of a team. Members work together to earn awards in their chosen riding disciplines, and in horse management,” said Melissa Purvis, administrative assistant in the WWU equestrian division and secretary of the local club, Hinkson Valley Pony Club.
“Although some of the teams will be made of team mates from the same club, many of the teams are ‘scramble teams,’ composed of team mates who have never met or worked together before the rally.”
She added, “Each team is composed of three to five pony club members and their mounts. They are judged on their riding skills, their horse management skills and sportsmanship.”
Pony Club differs from other competitions because the members are judged on their horse management skills, as well as their riding. Stable management judges are in the barns judging how safely the participants work around their horses and how well they tend to their horses’ needs. The riders learn team work, time management and responsibility.
Pony Club is one of the leading youth equestrian organizations in the world, represented throughout 30 countries. The United States has more than 600 individual clubs and centers spread throughout 48 states and the Virgin Islands, with more than 11,000 members.
Pony Club provides opportunities for instruction and competition in English riding, horse sports and horse management for children and young adults up to 25 years of age. The term “pony” reflects the age of the members, rather than the size of the mount. Horses and ponies of many different breeds, shapes and sizes are seen in Pony Club activities.
During meetings, members learn about feeding, shoeing, veterinary care and other areas of horse management. Under adult supervision, the more experienced Pony Club members instruct and assist younger members.
Pony Club members are encouraged to work their way through the 10 stages of the progressive standards of proficiency, which test knowledge and riding ability. Pony Club members who attain the B, H-A, and A rating levels meet standards of competence that are recognized throughout the horse world.