This is an introductory level for young riders aged 4 through 7, who are not yet able to ride and care for a pony independently. Pony Pals take regular lessons- at least once a month on a well schooled lesson pony. Lessons are designed for young children and last about 20- 30 minutes depending on student ability. Pony Pals riders should always practice their skills with the supervision and assistance of a knowledgeable instructor.
In this Level Pony Pals kids will learn and be able to demonstrate the following skills:
- Always wear boots and an ASTM-SEI approved helmet when they working around horses.
- Put on their helmet and demonstrate correct fit.
- Discuss how to dress safely and appropriately for riding.
- Know how to approach a pony safely and move around safely including how to walk behind.
- Discuss why it is important to groom a pony and pick out his feet before every ride.
- Assist instructor or an older, more experienced rider prepare for a ride. Help grooming, cleaning hooves, and putting on the saddle and bridle.
- Know the basic parts of a saddle and bridle, such as the bit, reins, stirrups and girth.
- Lead a pony safely, both with a halter and lead rope and with the bridle reins.
- Do a safety check on tack and pony before riding, including girth check.
- Mount and dismount correctly and safely, using a mounting block if necessary.
- Demonstrate a basic balanced position at the walk and standing still.
- Pick up the reins and hold them correctly, at a suitable length.
- Do simple stretches and warm-up exercises at the walk, on the longe line.
- Demonstrate how to use aids (seat, legs, hands and voice) to ask pony to walk, halt, and turn.
- Walk once all the way around the arena independently.
- Ride in a balanced two-point position at the halt and the walk.
- Walk over ground poles, showing a good jumping position.
- Ride the trot on the longe line. Ride both a sitting trot and a posting trot, holding on to the saddle if necessary.
- Discuss why it is important to cool out a pony after hard work, and help take care of him after a ride.
- Name at least ten parts of the pony, and at least three grooming tools.
- Feed a treat to a quiet pony safely. Discuss why it can be dangerous to feed a pony too many treats.
- Help an experienced horse person clean out a stall. Know why it is important to clean out a pony’s stall and water buckets every day.