Unrated Members

 To all parents of UR (unrated) new members 

I hope by now you have all been to several of our Sunday meetings, and are fully immersed in the whole Pony Club experience!    Hopefully your child has made some new friends and is enjoying learning about the care of their pony/horse at the same time. 

You have probably heard us talk about ratings (or testings, which we have now been told is the appropriate name – but for us older folk, they will always be ratings, so forgive us if we confuse you).   I thought now would be a good time to provide an explanation of what testings are, and what is involved. 

The terminology first:   you achieve a “certification” which translates to “you passed your testing” (aka rating).   Certifications start at D1, and go thru D2, D3, C1, C2, HB, C3, B, HA and A.   At this point, your children are URs (unrated).  

Testings are held at least twice a year, and Keeneland’s first testing date is April 22.     

Testings are 3 fold – the members are tested first on their HM knowledge (Horse Management), and if they pass that section, then they are tested on their riding ability on the flat, and lastly over jumps.      It is possible to take only one section of a test (after the D1 level), but the HM must be done first – so you may see a member that is a D2-HM – which means he/she has passed the HM portion of their D2, but have not tried or did not pass the riding sections.    This enables a member to proceed thru the ratings without a pony, or without having to jump.      A C2HM could go back at a later date and “catch up” on the riding portions if they so desired.

Confusing enough?   

To help you guide your child thru the process, we have “flowcharts”.   These are to be found on the Pony Club website (www.ponyclub.org) under Forms, or just ask Shelley Partridge for one.

These charts outline the knowledge needed for the testing you are aiming for, and it is a good idea to always bring it to the meetings, and find an upper level member (rated C1 and above) who will double check that your child really does know the knowledge or can perform the riding skill listed on the chart and will “sign off” the flowchart.   I cannot recommend this practice strongly enough.    After the D1 level, it is actually a club requirement that flowcharts be completed 30 days before a testing and turned in to either Shelley Partridge or MaryLynn Garrett.     Check out the flowcharts for the upper level members – see what they have to do to achieve those certifications, and give them a pat on the back!   Something to aim for in the years to come! 

So why the need for testings?   Firstly, Quiz and Games Rallies are the only rallies where URs can participate.    (A rally being a Pony Club competition).    Certifications make competitions fair, members compete against their peers who are equally certified.       There is no time requirement for testings, each member is an individual and can progress thru the certifications at their own pace.   Some advance quite quickly, some prefer to stay at a particular level for several years.   There is no right or wrong way !    Members do tend to progress with their age group, but by the time they get to D3 or C1, they tend to catch up to each other.     Certifications are tremendous achievements, and should be treated as such, no matter which level.     

Shelley will be starting to discuss the D1 testing with each one of you in the next few weeks so we can start to plan for April 22 (just get an idea of how many will participate).     It is absolutely not mandatory:    we have had one member who remained a UR for 2 years.   They still participated in meetings and club activities, but did not feel competent off the leadline which is a requirement at the D1 level.         

We strongly recommend participation at meetings to prepare for testings.   Pony Club can only provide what you are willing to take from it, and the greater the level of participation, the greater the reward.   The Dressage Clinic this month is another great opportunity to prepare. 

When are the testings?    The first date is April 21 for the D-level testings, and we will hold it at Masterson Station Park.     There may be a make up date, if needed, though not scheduled yet, but in order to participate in the various 2012 rallies to be held in June, testings must be complete by April 30.      We will definitely have more testings in the Fall.   

As always, we are here to answer questions.    Please don’t hesitate to contact any officer if you have a concern, all our contact emails are on the Keeneland Pony Club website (www.keenelandponyclub.org), or give one of us a call.     

We are glad to have you all as part of the Keeneland family!