by Sharon Jones
Rallies require a serious time commitment of the pony clubbers and their parents. Going to a rally is like sending your child and pony to camp. You will feel like you are packing for a week but it only lasts one day. But what a fun day it can be. It is not a day of play but of working together as a team, competing as an individual while developing responsibility and camaraderie.
Parents are needed to be "in the know" about the rally details because it might fall on your shoulders to locate or buy equipment or supplies that have disappeared from the team tack rooms set up by Pony Club (we reimburse you.), arrange trailering, help your child get to the recommended two rally team meetings, make sure the pony your child uses has water buckets and a hay net full of hay. Most of all, you and your Pony Clubber need to be working with the other parents and teammates to allocate responsibility for the collection of supplies from the Pony Club storage spot, packing the supplies & equipment in your vehicles, unloading and having team members set up their tack rooms at rally, plus taking down and returning the tack room equipment to the storage spot for the next team to use. It is primarily the stable manager’s job to help the team get this in order, but since the stable manager doesn’t drive, you are needed.
Parents need to understand that if they borrow a trailer for the day and ponies are to be in the trailer or tied to it, the towing vehicle must stay attached throughout the day. A pony can overturn a trailer if it is not attached to the towing vehicle. Most of the time teams try to find an extra trailer to use as the tack room. This trailer is only for people and does not have to be attached to the tow vehicle.
THE LATEST NEWS FROM RALLY ORGANIZERS IS THAT PONIES ARE TO START RALLY INSIDE THEIR TRAILERS, BE UNLOADED BY THE HORSE MANAGEMENT JUDGES OR C LEVEL PONY CLUBBERS WHEN THEY NEED TO GET READY FOR THEIR FORMAL INSPECTIONS. AFTER THE PONIES HAVE SETTLED IN, THE CHIEF HORSE MANAGER WILL GIVE THE WORD ON WHEN PONIES CAN BE TIED TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE TRAILER. D’S MUST HAVE SOMEONE ELSE UNLOAD THEIR PONIES. YOUR STABLE MANAGER SHOULD BE OK. BEFORE THE RALLY IS THE TIME TO FIND OUT HOW YOUR PONY LOADS AND TIES. LET YOUR STABLE MANAGER KNOW ABOUT YOUR PONY’S HABITS.
LEARN NOW HOW TO TIE SAFETY RELEASE KNOTS!!!!!!!
Last but not least, parents and Pony Clubbers need to know the golden rule at rally: There shall be NO UNAUTHORIZED ASSISTANCE!!!! Even before a rally it is unfair if a parent cleans the tack or washes a pony for a Pony Clubber. Another child may be doing their own work and probably won’t do as through a job as a parent. Pony Clubbers are competing against each other. Let them do it. They are going to rally, not you. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with giving help to show someone the ropes and get them started. Nevertheless, making your own mistakes and having the Stable Management Judge at rally correct & advise you may be more memorable then having your parents do so.
Another part of UNAUTHORIZED ASSISTANCE is coaching by parents, teachers or friends who are not part of the rally. A teammate can give another teammate advice, but for instance, you cannot remind a competitor to run-up their stirrups, or grab the mane over a jump.
As soon as a little time for unpacking equipment is allowed, once the rally begins, parents and all others except officials of pony club and competitors are NOT ALLOWED IN THE TRAILER AREA UNTIL THE END OF RALLY. Your child could be given heavy penalty points for having unauthorized assistance. Once you and your child understand that their are other people watching out for safety and welfare (the PC officials), some of the pressure to say things is off. Yet, there is still that urge to remind them of little details. If you remind your child of these things during competition you are giving your child an unfair advantage over another. On occasion you may not know all the facts and could even be giving bad advice. Most of us have the same instincts as you do. As we get more experienced with this format we realize that our kids find it amusing that we are not allowed to visit and pester them with our usual comments.
They ride by us sometimes thinking its a great joke to torture their parents who can only tell them good luck and here is some lunch money.
Don’t feel that there is no one to help at rally. Except for Games Rally, only D-2’s and up are allowed to rally where their horses are more separated between the trailer area, warm-up area, and competition area. Games is held more in one arena and ponies and riders close nearby. This is helpful because D-2’s have more expertise to handle the responsibility of horse management along with riding than would D-1’s or Unrated riders. Each team has a stable manager to help and teammates should pitch in to help each other as well. On top of that we have a crew of Horse Management Judges who travel up and down the trailer area giving hints, warding off problems, and monitoring the trailer area. Pony Clubbers should always take their problems to the Horse Management Judges when needed. Sometimes the problems are personal or emotional along with the reality of a horse to take care of and a schedule and jobs to do.
Parents are also not allowed to dispute scores or be involved it the judging. Responsible people are doing that. Also, little point here and there is not the overall deciding mark in the total score of a team’s performance. Sometimes mistakes do happen. Sometimes a score is not changed in the way you want. There is an official way for team captains only to relay the inquiry and or protest in the judging., Parents are not privy to this. That does not mean that Pony Club is not interested in your feelings or opinions. Maybe something can be improved for the next rally. So do speak of your concerns to your D.C. , or R.S.(regional supervisor)
Now, on with the show and have a rewarding experience!back to general rally information