Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
In Australia pony club isn't really expensive at all. We don't have 4-H, I've always wondered what it is exactly.
Anyway I was under the impression that Pony Club was a more British thing, and something that we sort of "inherited" through them. Where are you from? There is no location on your posts.
My experience with Pony Club is pretty good. I started going when I got my first horse when I was about 11. Luckily the grounds were nearby so I didn't have to float out there.
Its kind of fun, its not just focussed on the riding, but other forms of horse safety and horse care as well. There are generally levels for competition (like A,B,C,D,E) and you get graded and then can compete in jumping and eventing with in that level. Its pretty small, down here C was about 75cm, D 60ish, A was a bit over a metre for heights, and Novice dressage tests. Its a good base. The also have horsemanship certificates that we used to do at camp, which are ranked similarly to the grades, where you have to do a written test and a ridden test etc. The really high levels can interesting, like breaking in your own horse and going on a 40 or 80km ride.
At the same time there is a rule that professionals cannot teach at PC rally days, so the teaching can be very so-so, and you see kids tearing at their horses mouthes, overusing the crop etc. Its fun while you are a kid, but once I was about 16 I was way over it all. When I get back into horses I plan to see if I can do some instructing or just helping out at the rally days, because overall its pretty fun to be in the horse scene, and they always need help with the kids.
Give it a go if you can, generally all you need is your own horse and safe tack and gear.