Pony Club Rally Coming Up - What should I know?

I’m going to be participating in an upcoming show jump pony club rally on a team of 4 senior members. We had a meeting the other night with past participants and went over the requirements and scheduling. Clothing is covered, how to set up the tack room and feed rooms, we have a stable manager, a coach, advisors, how the inspections are run, and inventory of required equipment.

Any tips you can provide to make it run as smooth as possible would be appreciated. Thanks!

Is your stable manager experienced with rallies? Having an experienced stable manager makes the whole thing easier.

Make sure your kits are perfect. Print out the list of required equipment and make sure you have every bit of it.
Sounds like an overnight rally, remember the little rules like closing your stall door when your pony is not in it, tying your pony when you are working with it in the stall.
Make sure any stall dust is brushed off your boots before you go to any inspection.
Be sure you have appropriate foot wear on at all times.

Make a schedule, color coded by person, so everyone knows what time they have to be everywhere. Never be late, for anything.

Really, the most important part is to have fun, enjoy your team and your horse.

Remember, you are a team, so work as one. Even if you are used to doing it all yourself…teamwork is the way.


Yes, it’s over a weekend, friday through sunday. This is the first time for the stable manager but she’s super organized and is taking the job very seriously. I like the color coded idea, that’s a good one, thanks.

The APC has a checklist on their website. Make sure you print it out, and check off every little thing on that list, for every kit. Keep that list posted somewhere too - I always had it taped to the lid of the kit. Kits need to be somewhere easily accessible and not buried under loads of tack.

Everything must be labeled.

The HMH has a whole checklist that delineates every single thing that is to be expected at a rally: from stable management to turnovers to turnbacks.

Label everything.

As far as your horse - things that I remember being checked for: a clean sheath, clean mane, clean tail, clean hooves including sulcus grooves and nail holes. No dandruff or dirt between hairs, belly and elbows clean, no ear wax. Tack needs to be immaculate - no loose stitching anywhere, no cracks on the stirrup leathers, no missing keepers. If you have elastic girths make sure the elastic is clean and not worn down.

Did I mention everything must be labeled?

Every horse needs their own grooming kit - no sharing. Grooming tools must be clean and free of accumulated dirt. Everything must be labeled. Sponges (body and face), curries, hard and soft brush, hoof pick, etc.

Have a bridle and tack wipe down station, you will be checked for clean tack during turnovers. Always dip and clean the bit, wipe down and figure-eight the tack. We went overboard and always had each hook labeled with the horse’s name.

Stalls should always have the horse’s stall/name card and info on the door or front face of stall. Feed chart needs to be where the feed is stored – visible and legible. There should never be any manure in the stalls, and don’t leave pitchforks or buckets out in the aisle. Everything put away always. Pull rubber feed pans out of the stall when the horse finishes grain. We all would chip in and remove manure when we saw it. Any time you are in the stall the pony needs to be haltered and tied. All buckets must be hung chest level or higher, same with hay bags. Hay bags must be cotton and tied to baling twine. Halters must be breakaway or all leather - and worn at all times.

Trubandloki has a point about the teamwork – it really will impact final scores if everyone is doing their own thing and not aware of where other team mates are struggling. Make sure that everyone has a job and that they do it – it is not just the stable manager’s job to keep you guys on your toes. I remember that many of my team-mates would treat the stable manager as the groom that needed to do the grunt work. The only thing SMs are responsible for is knowing where the kits are and everyone’s schedule. They are not free labor.

I miss rallies so much. While they sound like a lot of work, they are great fun. Have a blast!!

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Oh yes, don’t forget your belt and your shirt tucked in.

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To reiterate important points already made, be on time and label everything (including your horse’s halter) with your name and/or competitor number.

Remember that everyone has to be there for the entire rally from start to finish. You don’t get to leave when your rides are over. Your stable manager is there to assist, but everyone on the team should lend a hand to help others when you are not getting ready or riding yourself. Don’t forget your Pony Club pin. Speaking of which, if you borrow or use anything from the required equipment kit, make sure you replace it so that it’s complete for the next rally. Forgetting/borrowing pins then not telling anyone or replacing them has been a perennial issue in our club. Make sure you don’t accidentally put yourself in a position to receive unauthorized assistance. Take some time before you go to make sure your helmet is properly fitted and adjusted. Refrain from foul language when things don’t go your way.

For tack rooms, a 4-shelf plastic shelf that comes apart is a great space saver for grooming kits and wash buckets. One shelf per rider. A carpet or tarp on the floor is good if the floors are dirt. You can bring a cable lock for overnight, but have to give the combination to horse management. Make sure to read the equipment fine print, such as that the fire extinguisher, flashlight and maybe pocket knife need to be hung by the door for quick access, and not just kept in the bins with everything else.

You’re lucky that your first time is on a team of four supposedly self-sufficient adults! Our club has many new very young members, so part of making teams is distributing them evenly and drilling it into all of the older kids’ heads that they are responsible for making sure that they have help with everything and are told what they need to do and when. Then the other parents have to try to reassure the helicopter parents that their kids will survive the day without them.


We have two teams going this year - seniors and juniors. I’m looking forward to it and should be a lot of fun. These are awesome suggestions - We hadn’t thought of a cable lock, great idea.

Don’t forget your rulebook and updates.
Digital versions are OK too. But make sure if you go digital you have access to it on site. Saying your phone is not working may get you points off.

Have the kids READ the Rulebook, know the Rules of this Rally. The Rulebook contains a great deal of detailed information the kid needs to know to compete well. You might highlight specific details for easy locating by the kids. Teams cannot argue for changes in scoring if they don’t know the Rules. Have a BRAVE Captain who will face adults with good reasons for the changes. Mom knowing Rules is not going to help them!

Have kids go thru the spares, their own kits to KNOW where things are located for easy finding. No one wants to follow another person on the Team because they can’t find their needed equipment or are not on time. Each person has to carry their own weight.

I went to a few rallies when I was young, and ever since then I’m always surprised by how little I need to pack without all the pony club required extras :rofl::rofl: But it was a great experience. Have fun, and don’t sweat the points you are undoubtedly going to lose for silly mistakes!


I believe none of the people on this team are little ones.

OP, are you in the US? In the US senior now = people over 18. They got rid of the Horse Master title for the adults and just made juniors under 18 and Seniors over 18. At least that is how I understand it.

Yes, I’m in the US. The team I’m on is made up of all adults (over 18) We range in age from about 40 to over 60 (me). I think you’re correct on the senior title. When I joined a couple of years ago it was still called Horse Masters. There is another team of juniors from our chapter participating.

At our meeting the other night, we went over everything in our club’s rally kit and there were a few holes we need to fill but nothing too bad. Who knew Neosporin expired? The one part I think is a little silly is having to have our feed in paper lunch bags.

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One of those pony club quiz rally question - two things in the kits that are required to have an expiration date…

Make sure anything else that is in your kits that has an expiration date (but is not required to have one) is within date. Sunscreen is an example of something that might have this problem.

I’ve never taken part in one of these, but it’s sparking my anxiety just from you guys talking about it. It sounds SO un-fun to be scrutinized down to “is my hoof pick clean”.


The good side is that you know all the rules going in. They are published and easy to understand. No wondering what is expected of you.

I admit, some of the rules are weird, but again, you know them going in.

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We checked everything and our stable manager is picking up what needed to be replaced.

  1. There’s a right way, a wrong way, and a Pony Club way.
    Which is one of those funny aphorisms, but when you think about it, makes a bit more sense. Pony Club is just about the only organization that judges unmounted things – like stable management. Since all the judges are also volunteers, they have to stick to a somewhat rigid framework in order to judge every team “fairly” against the same standard. So, while you may use nylon leadropes at home, you will get marked down at a pony club rally.

Which leads us to:

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ve see people (admittedly, kids, since back when I was judging we didn’t have seniors rallies) get so upset about a point off here for a dirty curry, or a point off there for dust on boots, and sure, those things seem petty. But it’s a SHOW JUMPING rally. One pulled rail is going to cost a whole lot more than the small stuff. Focus on the reason you’re there and have fun instead of choosing to be miffed about the little hits.

I hope you enjoy!!

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Thanks Aregard

Actually, this is one of those times where it’s good to read the HM rulebook. The only expiration dates that must be adhered to are for the two triple antibiotic entries - in the human first aid kit and in the equine first aid kit. Other items are allowed to be expired. This is something to know in case you get points off for it from an assistant HM judge who doesn’t know the rulebook that well.

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That is not how I understand it. The way I understand it, and have read the HM rulebook and asked at rallies, is that yes, like I said above, the only two things required to have an expiration date are the two antibiotics. Everything else has to be usable, so if it is expired, it is not usable. So, if it happens to have an expiration date, even if it is not required to have one, it has to be not expired.
Now…there is no rule that says you can not remove that expired expiration date on that sunscreen (rubbing alcohol is your friend) and keep it in your kit. You just can not have something that is expired in your kit.
The whole point of the kits is to have things to use.

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