For those who don’t know, a Pony Club rally is basically a horse show on steroids. There’s the normal showing part, but then before and after your rounds, you are closely watched by Horse Management judges. You are judged on how you and your horse are turned out, how you care for your horse and equipment, and how your tack room is set up. It can be pretty intense, and you meet a lot of interesting kids throughout the day. It’s hard to sum up the wide variety of people you come across, but I narrowed it down to five types:
1. The ones who care too much
These people can be quite annoying, unless you are one of them. These are the people who will go above and beyond all Pony Club requirements, which are already (in some cases) over the top. And they brag about it. They often tend to do well in Horse Management, but not so much in riding.
2. The ones who shouldn’t be in Pony Club
There’s always quite a few of the kids who really shouldn’t be in Pony Club. They’re pretty easy to spot with stains on their pants, a dull saddle, and a dusty horse. Now I’m not saying all my equipment is spotless everyday, but you would think they would know better for a Pony Club rally…
3. The awkward tween girls
These are the girls you’re next to who sing either Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, or Disney songs literally the entire day. And every conversation they have is filled with high-pitched screeching. Sure, they’re just having fun, but when you got there at 6 am and they’re still going strong screaming and singing by 12 pm, it gets old pretty quickly.
4. The rebels
AKA the ones who keep track of how many “unapproved” things they can do without any Horse Management judges noticing. These people are the ones who will see how long they can sit on the ground while holding their horse, or if they get points off by tossing their brushes on the ground instead of in their grooming bags. To the people who show up to win, this can be stressful, but I’ve always thought it’s an entertaining way to get through the long day.
5. The ones who shouldn’t be riding
There are always at least eight people who get run off with in the warm up. Maybe the horse is too strong for them, maybe they’re having an off day, or maybe the rider just isn’t prepared… either way, these kids always add a bit of excitement to the day as someone screams “close the gate!!”
In all seriousness, rallies are a great way to form friendships with teammates, create memories that last a lifetime, and learn how to take care of horses without adults stepping in to do everything for their kids.