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Please help! Pony club - i don't know what to expect!

13 replies

Itsallaswizz · 06/10/2018 13:56

Hello, I'm sorry to say I'm completely ignorant about horses but I have a daughter who is horse mad and has been going to pony club as a non pony owner for very nearly 2 years now. She's still very keen on ponies but is getting a bit bored and I don't know whether to keep her going and encourage her or try a different riding school. She's still on a lead rein and has never tried cantering. She has 5 or so badges. I would love to see her doing more but don't know if I'm expecting too much. Obviously i don't want her pushed beyond her capabilities but equally it would be good to see some progression. I will talk to her current school but really wanted to ask those with more experience what you would expect her to be doing after two years of pc almost every weekend?

OP posts:
buscaution · 06/10/2018 14:05

How old is she?

Itsallaswizz · 06/10/2018 14:06

Sorry, should have said! She'll be 8 at the end of this month.

OP posts:
Fireinthegrate · 06/10/2018 14:39

2 yrs ridng weekly and still on a lead rein! I'm shocked! She really should have progressed further than that I would have thought.
Is there a PC club at a school near you? I would definitely be asking the instructors to push her on a bit. No wonder she's getting bored!

Itsallaswizz · 06/10/2018 15:04

Thanks for your reply! The pony she usually has can be frisky but I would have thought they could swap her so that she can progress? I've not felt confident enough to push due to my lack of knowledge of ponies but it's good to hear that we are right to be questioning, thank you.

OP posts:
Ariela · 06/10/2018 15:15

I would try a different riding school - we had this with my daughter when a bit younger than yours, she was off the lead rein quite quickly (took to riding really well) and went every other week, and I was often told 'she's nearly ready to canter' when I realised they'd been saying that for over a year! Went to a different, much larger, RS and there they popped her on a pony for a private lesson, and she was cantering within 10 minutes and has never looked back. There they gave her different ponies to ride each week so it was more of a challenge. After a year we moved on to a loan pony locally but kept up the lessons.

Itsallaswizz · 06/10/2018 15:25

Ok, I'll speak to her current school but will arrange a private lesson at another school which I know is very well regarded ( but further away) to see what they think. Thank you.

OP posts:
buscaution · 06/10/2018 15:34

Definitely go to a proper riding school. I think pony club lacks in the teaching department.

Itsallaswizz · 06/10/2018 15:41

I thought it was the same thing?! Do they not do the same at every riding school? I thought (assumed Blush) that all schools did the same thing!

Told you I knew nothing - definitely my fault for not doing my research!

OP posts:
snowpo · 06/10/2018 22:34

My DD's riding school does Pony Club sessions but also lessons - they don't offer group lessons only individual. I think the Pony Club sessions have less individual focus and of course they do all the stable management, mucking out, grooming, feeding, tack cleaning etc.
Private lesson at another school is a better idea. If the pony she is riding is a bit sharp that might be why they are keeping her on the lead rein but that's really not fair on your DD. They should have a pony that is quiet enough that she can progress on.

Backinthebox · 07/10/2018 11:34

I would expect an 8yo who has been riding weekly for 2 years to be off the lead rein and cantering by now. There’s a little girl who comes and rides my son’s pony who went from lead rein to cantering out on hacks within a few weeks. The pony she had been riding before was not suitable to ride off the lead rein, it was nothing to do with the child’s ability to progress. I would be trying to get her on a different pony. One of the advantages to riding at a riding school instead of a private setting is that there should be the opportunity to ride a range of different ponies and gain experience that way. If they are keeping her on the same pony each week and her riding is not coming along I would look to change.

maxelly · 08/10/2018 00:33

Hello, obviously it is different for every child but I would definitely expect an 'average' 8 year old who has been riding for 2 years to be able to ride off lead rein and canter by now, most would also be able to do things like trot without stirrups and pop a small jump. But more important than what she can or can't do, she should be making progress, should know what she needs to work on to improve her riding and should be enjoying herself, it sounds like her current set up isn't doing any of this!

I wouldn't blame Pony Club per se, but each club (especially the ones for children without their own pony) runs things differently and in some places, the PC lessons are quite a short and basic session, and the children are expected to have private or group lessons separately in order to actually learn and progress. The PC sessions are just there for some extra riding time, fun and games or a chance to demonstrate what they can already do to earn badges. I'm not saying the centres/clubs that run things this way are doing it wrong, as often the PC sessions are much cheaper than a normal lesson, have to cater for a mixed ability group and/or contain an element of stable management alongside the ridden session so don't have a huge opportunity for individual teaching.

But really if this is the case at your PC someone should have explained this to you rather than just keep your DD at a very basic level for 2 years, many DC would be completely put off by now, so it is not good teaching practice.

I would either speak to whoever the 'lead' instructor at the PC centre is about how your DD can progress (perhaps through booking a course of private lessons) or go elsewhere. If you do the latter by all means choose somewhere that also offers Pony Club but don't be bound by that. When you speak to a new school, I would simply explain she's currently a beginner and keen to progress and ask them what they recommend, rather than saying straight away she wants to do pony club as this could confuse them. E.g. at the stables I ride at, they wouldn't recommend children of her age join the PC sessions until they can at least confidently walk and trot off the lead rein, so they would probably say she should have private lessons or ride in a small group of other novice children until she's at that standard, and then join the PC (but it may work differently elsewhere so keep an open mind!).

Good luck!

Itsallaswizz · 08/10/2018 13:16

That's really very helpful, thank you so much.

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reluctantbrit · 09/10/2018 09:54

When my DD was two years into riding (monthly only, not weekly) she was trotting freely and hacking.

The Pony Club lessons were more about actual riding, for the badges you went on holiday activities unless it was progress ones like Bronze level which was also covered in lessons.

Def go somewhere else.

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