My Pony Club C3 Rating Experience Was Amazing!
By: Triple Crown Insider- Julia Marrinan
National testing of any sort involves an incredible amount of work, and when you add a horse to the mix, it only gets more complicated. That’s why the C3 rating in Pony Club (the first riding national level certification) is such a challenging and rewarding experience. To pass your C3, you must display an independent seat and coordinated aids through a course at 3’3” (stadium and cross country) and first level dressage on both your horse and an unfamiliar mount, as well as lunge and wrap your horse both effectively and neatly. In August I passed my C3 at the New York/Upper Connecticut rating at Riga Meadow Equestrian Center. The testing was the culmination of more than a year’s worth of prep work, and I couldn’t be more proud of my fellow Pony Clubbers who came and gave it their all.
Having taken my H-B (Horse Management) last year, this was not my first experience with a national level rating. I was yet again impressed with how well organized the entire event was, and how well Pony Clubbers can work together and support one another—even when they’ve just met 15 minutes prior and are stressing about formals being in another 15 minutes! Having other riders there to help, encourage and give tips throughout the rating was an enormous help. I can’t recommend enough to bring other club members to your rating. It’s infinitely beneficial to both of you—a C2 helping at a C3 testing can learn so much in two short days, and having someone to help you in a stressful moment is invaluable.
Even if you can’t bring a friend, know that you’ll make new ones at your rating; only one other person out of the seven others at my rating was from my region, yet we all ended the weekend as fast friends with a solid support network. Much like any horse trial, the challenge presented by the rating brings eventers together like nothing else.
Going into your rating, it is also important to know the standards and practice until you’re ready, and then relax! At the C3 level, two key components are your discussions and your ability to make the changes suggested by the examiners. Even if you make a mistake during the first round of riding (or anything else), being able to thoroughly explain what happened to the national examiners and fixing it the second time around means you can still pass. Remember above all, the examiners are there for you. Don’t be scared to talk to them, explain what works best for you and your horse, or ask any questions that you have. Even if you don’t pass, the examiners can be incredibly helpful in telling you what you need to work on and tips and tricks for getting to where you need to be.
It’s also helpful to work on your courses and tests beforehand. Running through your grid without stirrups many times is the best way to make sure that your lower leg will be rock solid when the examiners take your irons! And don’t forget that you’ll have to set your own grids and courses, so make sure you can properly set up a gymnastic line with accurate distances. Even if you’re not in Pony Club, this is a great skill to have. You can also use the preset Pony Club grids as a way to build strength and improve technique in both you and your horse at home.
The rating was an incredible experience and has proven how much Pony Club has improved my riding and how great it is to have such an awesome way to meet fellow riders.
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