United States Pony Clubs to Host Meeting of the Pony Club International Alliance in July During 2024 USPC Festival

The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC) is excited to announce that it will be hosting ambassadors from countries within the Pony Club International Alliance (PCIA), July 16–20, 2024, during the 2024 USPC Festival, which is set for July 15-22 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. Pony Club representatives will be here from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. The Pony Club International Alliance represents national Pony Club organizations from around the world, including the United States Pony Clubs; The Pony Club, which has branches throughout the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland); the Irish Pony Club; Pony Club Australia; Pony Club New Zealand; Pony Club South Africa; Pony Club Hong Kong; and the Canadian Pony Club.

“The United States Pony Clubs is honored to be one of the founding nations of the PCIA, and we are thrilled to be hosting Pony Club ambassadors here at the United States Pony Clubs National Headquarters and to be taking over administration of the PCIA for the next two-year term,” said USPC Executive Director Teresa Woods. “There is so much strength behind this alliance as member nations strive to expand Pony Club initiatives and reinforce the Pony Club identity worldwide, all while honoring all of the traditional values that make Pony Club such a worthwhile global community.”

The meeting will kick off with a welcome luncheon, followed with a discussion of Pony Club activities beyond competitions. Attendees have been invited to march in the 2024 USPC Festival Opening Ceremonies on the evening of July 16. Additional topics to be covered include land conservation, membership, financial sustainability, business and governance models, fundraising, international memberships, international promotion of PCIA positions, international exchanges, and much more. Attendees will also be able to see some of Kentucky’s famous horse-area attractions.

This year’s PCIA meeting marks the 20th Anniversary for the alliance. Planning for an international alliance among Pony Club organizations began at the Millennium Conference in 2000 when national chairs from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom met in Toronto, Canada. A mini summit followed in 2001 in Lexington, Ky., when the United States Pony Clubs first hosted international representatives, along with a more formal meeting, again hosted by USPC, in 2003. The first official meeting of the newly-formed PCIA was held in Calgary, Canada, in 2005 with the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand serving as founding nations. Hong Kong and South Africa were later added.

Since the PCIA formation, meetings have rotated between Canada and the United States every other year until the 2018 meeting in Tarporley in Cheshire, England. In 2016, virtual meetings were added, which ended up being critical to the continuation of PCIA efforts due to the unexpected worldwide coronavirus pandemic, and this year’s event will be the first in-person meeting since 2018.

In 2018, representatives signed the Pony Club International Alliance Charter, setting the goals to promote Pony Club membership across the world and to collaborate on international programs. This will be done through cooperative promotion of PCIA programs and through information-sharing initiatives, including programs to attract and retain members, the development of coaches and volunteers, and the sharing of ideas on fundraising, income generation, and communication and marketing.

Over the years, senior representatives of member nations have discussed operations, program structures, sports/disciplines being provided, and the membership numbers of each country. Meeting topics included a review of the experiences of each organization as they provided their respective Pony Club programs, how the experience in each nation differs, and what has been successful versus what challenges exist and how those challenges could be overcome.

The most impactful initiative of the PCIA is the International Exchanges program. The United States participates with other nations within the Pony Club International Alliance for international exchanges in Quiz, Tetrathlon, Mounted Games, Foxhunting, and the Inter-Pacific International Exchange, the latter involving nations along the Pacific Rim. These cultural and educational opportunities allow participants not only to compete in various disciplines as a team against other nations’ teams, but participants also enjoy traveling within the hosting country to see cultural, historical, and natural sights. Members travel as a team, usually for several weeks, with their coach and team manager/chaperones.

The PCIA is responsible for managing this international program, including which nations will participate in each exchange, the frequency of the exchanges, and the rotation and timetable for hosting countries. In addition, PCIA establishes international guidelines for selection of teams, coaches, and chaperones; approves competition rules; and determines benchmark competency standards and Pony Club certifications required for participants of the teams.

In addition to International Exchanges, PCIA member nations also field participating teams and individuals for an International Virtual Dressage Show, which takes place September 15–October 27 this year and is hosted by the United States and Hong Kong.

One of the international exchanges, the Quiz International Exchange, will run concurrently with the PCIA meeting in Lexington, during the 2024 USPC Festival.

For more information about the Pony Club International Alliance, please contact USPC Executive Director Teresa Woods at executivedirector@ponyclub.org.

About The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC or Pony Club) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization that builds the foundation of teamwork and sportsmanship through riding, mounted sports, and care of horses and ponies, while developing and enhancing leadership, confidence, responsibility, and a sense of community in its youth and adult members. USPC is proud to offer instruction and competitive opportunities in 11 competitive disciplines through hundreds of clubs and centers across the United States. USPC’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. For more information, please visit www.ponyclub.org.

Press Contact: Sarah Evers Conrad, communications@ponyclub.org
Pony Club: ponyclub.org | (859) 254-7669