Pony Club Australia revised the Syllabus of Instruction in 2019. The major developments were:
- A reframing of much of the existing content through an Equitation Science lens. This approach legitimises,refines and builds upon the more than 90 years of tradition in Pony Club coaching worldwide. It also provides the evidence for why the Pony Club Australia Syllabus of Instruction supports rider safety and horse welfare
- The addition of ground work exercises.
- The addition of information about horse behaviour.
- The treatment of riders as horse riders AND trainers (not just riders).
- The deletion of a couple of outdated practices that are no longer considered consistent with equine welfare. For example, we now discourage the pulling of manes and tails,and we encourage horses being fed small amounts of feed prior to being worked.
- The D* certificate being made compulsory. This enabled us to remove content from the C that was a repetition of the D*. The only optional certificate is now the E, although it is still recommended for setting a foundation for the D certificate.
- The removal of minimum ages for certificates. Riders can now commence their next certificate as soon as they are ready.
Overseeing the new syllabus has been one of the best-known proponents of Equitation Science, Dr Andrew McLean. Andrew is CEO of Equitation Science International, Behaviour Consultant to Melbourne University Veterinary Hospital and a member of the Board of Pony Club Australia.
There are eight proficiency certificates. For each one, we have produced a workbook/manual to support your learning. (Note: the A Level Certificate Manual is in production).
Rider manuals are structured around:
- The Rider’sTool Kit (horse ethology, behaviour and training)
- On the Ground (eg. foundation responses on the ground and some in-hand dressage tests for horse handling
- Under Saddle (riding )
- Jumping (where relevant to the level)
- Horse Management