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Pony Clubs Gear Up for 2002 Season

On Saturday, May 4, representatives of 21 of the 33 Central Ontario Region Pony Clubs will compete at the 2002 Central Ontario Regional Quiz at Sutton District High School in Sutton.

Pony Club is an international movement for young people (aged 21 or under), and is the largest equestrian organization in the world with over 120,000 members worldwide. It offers a wide variety of horse-related activities and competitions.

Quiz is different from most other Pony Club activities in that it does not require horses or ponies. Pony Clubbers compete as both individuals and teams, each Branch being allowed one team of three youngsters each, at each level of difficulty. D, D1 and D2 levels are for the younger or less experienced members, C level for the intermediates, and the A/B level for the older and more experienced members. D and D1 competition is on a team basis only while the higher levels also compete as individuals.

There are three phases: a written test, a visual test where competitors have to identify strange, obscure and unusual horsy objects by sight (older competitors often have to read an X-Ray) and an oral test. There will also be several "Quiz Stations". These are games that teams, helpers and spectators can play; they don't count for points, but they are fun for everybody. For example, one calls for the player to identify various horse-related objects that have been put into socks, by feel alone.

Clubs may also compete in a "Projects" category, in which team members from all levels prepare displays or exhibits based on one of a "menu" of topics. This year, the choices include "The Good Farmer" (pasture maintenance, crop maintenance, equipment etc), saddlery (either fitting tack or attachments other than saddles and bridles, and their uses/purposes), corrective shoeing, emergency first aid for horses, preparing your horse for rally (the Pony Club equivalent of three day eventing) and "The Non-Horsey Parent's Guide to Pony Club."

To form a Quiz team, most Pony Club Branches hold meetings and try-outs over a period of about six weeks. Often, the A/B level Pony Clubbers coach the other teams.

The Regional Quiz takes a full day, and is the first competition of the new season. The top four individual competitors at the A/B and C levels qualify to compete at the National Quiz in October. This year, National Quiz will be held in Winnipeg, hosted by the Manitoba Region.

The competition starts at 9 am, and spectators are welcome without charge. Sutton District High School is located at 20798 Dalton Road in Sutton.