The Midwest Region of the United States Pony Club will hold its annual “Mega Rally,” June 16-19 at William Woods University. This is the first year for WWU to host the competition for representatives of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.
“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),” Melissa Purvis, district commissioner of the local club, Hinkson Valley Pony Club, said.
“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,” Purvis said.
Approximately 74 competitors are expected this year, including a William Woods student, Abigail Ames, a junior from Auxvasse, Mo.
Pony Club is different from other competitions because the members are judged on their horse management skills, as well as their riding. A group of stable management judges are in the barns judging how safely the participants work around their horses and how well they tend to their horse’s 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.