The following are policy statements that 99% of our members do not need, but the other 1% force us to issue.

Rules There are three points to be made about the rules governing various Pony Club competitions.1. Pony Club rules are available for a nominal fee (many are available online) .  Ask the member of your Branch Committee responsible for each discipline for a copy.  If he or she doesn’t have one, ask your District Commissioner, or the Regional Committee Chair for each discipline.  In some cases, our rules will say something like, “Unless otherwise stated, Canadian Equestrian Federation rules apply”.  In such cases you will need the CEF rules, for which there may also be a small fee.

2. It is the competitor’s responsibility—and NOBODY else’s—to become thoroughly familiar with the rules governing the events and classes which he or she enters.  It helps if parents, coaches and Branch officials also know the rules, but the final responsibility is the competitor’s.  There is no excuse for getting yourself eliminated because you broke some rule you didn’t know existed.

3. It should go without saying that rules are meant to be obeyed.  If you believe that a rule has been wrongly interpreted, there are established procedures for filing protests and these should be followed (see point 2, above).  If you believe that a rule itself is just plain unfair, no matter how it is interpreted, this is not an issue to be raised at the event itself.  You should draw this to the attention of the Regional Discipline Chair, via your Branch Discipline Chair or your District Commissioner, or at a Youth Workshop such as we hold at the Region’s Annual General Meeting.  Rules have been changed in the past, and we do need feedback.  We cannot correct our mistakes without hearing about them.

Safety/Turn-out Many Pony Club rules are written to help ensure safe competition.  But again, the competitors, parents and coaches must take responsibility for some aspects of safety.  For example, the Tack Check official is responsible for making sure that your tack is legal, but making sure that it is not ready to fall apart on the cross-country course is your own look-out.Pony Club turn-out requirements are about safety, and about respect for your Branch, your horse, and yourself.  If you want to be considered for competitions in which you will represent your Region, or your country, clean tack and turn-out—not necessarily expensive but in good repair—and a polite, cooperative attitude improve your chances of being selected.
Abuse of 
This is a zero-tolerance policy.  Depending on the degree of offence, the next person who abuses an official or a volunteer at a Pony Club competition may:  – Be eliminated (or get his/her child or student eliminated—all of these apply to coaches and parents as well as competitors).

– Be disqualified.  (To resolve any confusion between elimination and disqualification: if you are eliminated in the dressage phase of a rally, for example, you get to compete in the cross-country and stadium jumping phases; if you are disqualified, you get to put your pony away and watch from the sidelines for the rest of the day.)

– Get to explain to his/her other team members why they have all been eliminated or disqualified.

– Get to go home early (as in, immediately).

– Get to explain to a hearing why he/she should be allowed to enter any Pony Club competitions for the next X weeks or Y months.

– Get to explain to a hearing why he/she should be allowed to remain a Pony Club member.

In appropriate instances, the Canadian Pony Club policy on harassment prevention may apply.

Hearing or no hearing, Pony Club can’t make show organizers accept entries from somebody who has created problems in the past, or whose parents or coaches were a nuisance.  Nor can we force property owners to let somebody set foot on their grounds, if there has been trouble in the past.

We hope everybody will keep in mind that our objective, and the reason for having rules in the first place, is to ensure a safe and level playing field for all who enter, and to make Pony Club competitions an enjoyable experience for everybody, wherever they place.  There are life-lessons to be learned in organizing yourself, planning ahead, preparing yourself and your mount for Pony Club events, in learning to compete within rules, and in accepting the outcome with grace—win or lose.  The motto of Canadian Pony Club is “Loyalty, character, sportsmanship”, after all.  If these policy statements help with the latter two, it will have done its job.