This is one of the most technical activities of Pony Club. It requires precise equestrian etiquette while riding a dressage test. Riders practice a set pattern with different movements at different speeds. There are walk/trot tests for younger members, and they increase in difficulty as riders enter a new rating. Riders and their horses are judged on how well each exercise is performed, whether the horse was obedient, whether the test was followed, and the equitation of the rider. Dressage tests are paralleled with ratings so that the rider is always prepared. For some riders, this is their least favorite activity, but it sets the foundation for all other events. If you can do well in dressage, then jumping will come easier.
This event is a very controlled jumping event, that takes place in an arena. Rider and horse approach colorful jumps with the goal of making it to the other side. This event uses a lot learned in the dressage ring. Riders must make tight turns, and be able ot jump in tight spaces between jumps. For the upper divisions, riders will jump two to three jumps in a row, which is much easier if the horse is under control and compact. The rider completes the course according to a time limit, and can be penalized for riding too fast or two slow. More penalties occur when a horse refuses, knocks a rail down, or the rider falls off. Jumps are set at different heights for the different levels.
Cross country combines jumping with the open field, that has ties to fox hunting. The rider and horse travel along a course towards natural looking jumps. The jumps can range from logs to ditches, and from banks to water obstacles. Riders try to pace themselves to finish in a stated time limit. Penalties are given for fast and slow times, also for refusals. Riders can be eliminated because of too many refusals or falls. Courses can be long, so a proper cool down always follows cross country rides. Jumps are chose according to the level of the Pony Clubber, so again, each rider is prepared. Safety gear, including helmets and protective vests are worn by all riders. Every member looks forward to this event!