USPC Standards of Proficiency
The foundation of Pony Club is education. The United States Pony Clubs, Inc., establishes Standards of Proficiency as the educational curriculum for a program of instruction and evaluation of its members for ratings at each level.
The D-Levels offer an introduction to the fun and challenge of riding, establishing a foundation of safety habits and knowledge of the daily care of a mount and related equipment. The D-level Horse Management focuses on acquiring the knowledge and skills related to care and ground handling of the mount. The D level-member may also learn and be evaluated on riding independently on the flat, with control, maintaining a reasonably secure position at the walk, trot and canter. In addition, the Dlevel members may choose to learn and be evaluated while riding their mounts over low fences. All D certificates are awarded at the club/center level. Learn more about the D Level Standards Of Proficiency for Traditional, Dressage, Hunter Seat Equitation, and Western
The C-1 and C-2 Levels are for the Pony Club member learning to become an active horseman, to care independently for his/her mount and tack, and to understand the reasons for what he or she is doing with the mount while either mounted or unmounted. Similar to the D-level, the C-1 and C-2 levels focus on advancement and evaluation of Horse Management skills as well as show development towards a secure, independent seat and increasing control and confidence in all phases of riding, flat and/or jumping. The C-1 and C-2 certificates are awarded at the club/center level. Learn more about the C-1 and C-2 Level Standards Of Proficiency for Traditional, Dressage, Hunter Seat Equitation, and Western
The H-B, C-3, B, H-HM/H/H-A and A Certifications are facilitated on a national basis and require a greater depth of knowledge and proficiency than the earlier certifications. Successful candidates are competent, all-around horsemen, active and contributing members of USPC, who participate in a variety of Pony Club activities. They are also thoughtful leaders who set an example for all. Each of the national-level certifications have a minimum age requirement. The H-B Certification covers Horse Management knowledge and skills that demonstrate increasing awareness, education, and competence in the care and handling of horses and in teaching the same skills to others. It reflects the theory and study as well as the practical aspects of unmounted horse management that can be expected of a high school curriculum. The minimum age for the H-B certification is 13 years old.
The H-HM/H/H-A Certification requires the knowledge, experience and maturity to evaluate and care for a mount’s needs efficiently and in a variety of circumstances, to competently ground train horses; and to teach riding and horse care to others. It reflects the theory and study as well as the practical aspects of unmounted horse management that can be expected of a college curriculum. The minimum age for the H/H-M/H-A certification is 16 years old. At the national level, Pony Club members may choose to follow one or all of three riding tracks. They are: Traditional, Show Jumping or Dressage.
The C-3 Certification reflects a basis of competence in riding, ground schooling, and horse care that will make possible a lifetime of pleasure with horses. The certification has both demonstration and discussion components. It is the first of the riding certifications to evaluate a member’s ability to seamlessly transfer their riding skills from their own horse to an unknown horse. If the C-3 riding test is passed before the H-B, the member becomes a C+. The minimum age for the C-3 certification is 13 years old.
The B Certification is for the active horseman and Pony Club members who are interested in acquiring further knowledge and proficiency in riding. The B is able to ride experienced mounts, both their own and others, with confidence and control. Similar to the C-3, the certification has both demonstration and discussion components. The B should be able to ride and care for another person’s experienced mount, maintaining proper mental and physical condition without undoing any of the mount’s education. The B understands and is able to explain the reasons for what he or she is doing. The minimum age for the B certification is 14 years old.
The A Certification is the highest riding certification available to members. The A is able to ride mounts at various levels of schooling with judgment, tact and effectiveness; to train young mounts; and to retrain spoiled mounts. Like the C-3 and the B, the A understands and is able to explain the reasons for what he or she is doing as well as demonstrate the skills required. The A understands and demonstrates a variety of training techniques and discusses their training techniques as a trainer. The minimum age requirement to take the A certification is 16 years old. NOTE: In addition to its instructional programs, USPC offers a variety of activities at club, regional, interregional and national levels for team and individual participation. Achieving a rating does not necessarily qualify the Pony Club member for competition in any horse sport, discipline, or activity. Further study and preparation for a particular activity, including working as a team member,is necessary.