Pony Club members, leaders and equine enthusiasts gathered online January 29 for award presentations at the 2021 Meeting of the Corporation, taking place during the 2021Virtual Equine Symposium & Convention hosted by USPC.
Four clubs received recognition for their dedication and longevity, marking milestone anniversaries with USPC. The Olympus Pony Club (formerly named Vashon Island Olympus) in the Northwest Region and St. Margaret’s Pony Club in the Maryland Region received 50-Year Club Milestone Awards, while Rose Lake Pony Club (Great Lakes Region) and Shaker Valley Pony Club (White Mountain Region) were honored with 25-Year Club Milestone Awards.
Two upper-level members received special recognition for achieving Pony Club’s top A-Level certification, with the presentation of awards sponsored by Stites & Harbison Attorneys. Members Anna Douglas (Lakeville Pony Club, New York/Upper Connecticut Region) and Kim Goto Miner (Santa Rosa Valley Pony Club, Camino Real Region) both earned their A certifications in 2020.
The Brookfield Land Conservation Award was presented to Groton Pony Club in the Central New England Region for their ongoing efforts to preserve and maintain the Hazel Grove Fairgrounds for equestrian use. This annual award is made possible through a generous donation from the van Nagell family of Lexington, Kentucky, and rewards the efforts of clubs, centers, regions and members who are active in and help promote land conservation and stewardship through various projects.
The Flash Teamwork Award went to Woodside Pony Club in the Middle California Region. Located in the Bay Area of Northern California, Woodside Pony Club members jumped into action when wildfires were burning and threatening thousands of acres in the surrounding area this past fall, preparing over 30 stalls and working together to care for evacuated horses. “The amazing teamwork around this was like nothing our club has ever seen before,” shared Karen Flores, who submitted the winning entry. “In such a scary and uneasy time, this club came together for the greater good of their community. They demonstrated not only their horse management skills learned in Pony Club, but also the core values of horsemanship, organized teamwork, respect and service that are the foundation of our organization.”
Winners of the USPC Research Project Fair sponsored by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation were announced, judged by a panel of experts from veterinary, scientific and equine backgrounds and showcasing the work of Pony Club members of all ages and certification levels.
The highest scoring individual experimental project belonged to Janna S. (Deep Run Hunt Pony Club, Virginia Region) who presented her work, “Evaluation of Various Cryotherapy Methods.” Charlotte H. (Hinkson Valley Pony Club, Midwest Region) earned the top score in the Individual Literature Review Category with her project, “When Carrots are Painful: EOTRH Syndrome.” The top-ranked group literature review project was “Ow! My Metacarpophalangeal Joint!” submitted by “The Three Musketeers” from the Midwest Region: Michaela F. (Mill Creek Pony Club); Alaina M. (Hinkson Valley Pony Club); and Lillian K. (Mill Creek Pony Club).
The meeting concluded by celebrating the recipients of the USPC Founders Awards for 2020, recognizing longtime volunteers Lynn du Celliee Muller and Cindy Healy for their dedicated service to Pony Club.
“I am grateful to have found Pony Club for my children, and as it turns out, for myself as well,” shared du Celliee Muller, noting the many friendships and deep connection to the Pony Club community she has enjoyed through her years in the organization. Healy, who has volunteered with numerous youth and community organizations in the course of raising five children, cited Pony Club as the foremost in developing character, leadership, confidence and a sense of community. “It’s been a privilege to give back to an organization that gives us so much. Pony Club is more than an organization; it’s a family, and I love my Pony Club family.”
About Pony Club — The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (Pony Club) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1954. The United States Pony Clubs, Inc., develops character, leadership, confidence, and a sense of community through a program that teaches the care of horses and ponies, riding, and mounted sports for an inter-generational audience with a focus on youth. Pony Club is one of the largest equine education organizations with thousands of members and hundreds of clubs and centers throughout the United States. USPC is proud to provide education to equestrians of all ages, with instruction and competitive opportunities in more than 10 different disciplines. Pony Club’s educational standards continue to be instrumental in curriculum development for schools, universities, equestrian professionals and organizations across the United States. Many of the nation’s top equestrians, including Olympic team members, as well as successful business professionals and leaders in a variety of fields, have roots in Pony Club.