Central Ontario will host the Canadian Pony Club National Quiz this Thanksgiving weekend, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Vaughn, Ontario. Competitors from 13 Canadian Regions plus the top "C" team from the US have qualified for this event by placing in the top four at their Regional quizzes earlier this year. In total, there are 93 participants, plus over 50 chaperones and volunteers.
Quiz is different from most other Pony Club activities in that it does not require horses or ponies. Pony Club members compete as both individuals and teams. At the National Quiz, there are normally two levels, both linked to the Pony Club testing system - an A/B level for the oldest and most experienced members and a C level for the intermediates. This year, there is also an Affiliates level for competitors 21-25 years old; for the first time, they will compete for the Sandra Sillcox Memorial Award, named for the late and much-missed FEI Steward-General for Canada, a Pony Club alumna and lifelong volunteer. Also new this year is a team banner competition.
There are three phases for all levels: a written test, "I.D. Tables," a visual test where competitors have to identify strange, obscure and unusual horsy objects by sight (there will be more than 200 of them, and older competitors often have to read an X-Ray) and several "Quiz Stations" - games that count towards team scores and, in the case of the Affiliates, individual scores as well.
Pony Club differs from most other equestrian organizations in that it aims to teach its members not only riding skills but also general horsemanship and horse-care knowledge. Quiz is the fun aspect of this academic side, and those who make it to National Quiz do have a lot of fun - it would be ALL fun except that most of the competitors take it very seriously indeed. Visitors with an equestrian background are invariably impressed with the breadth and depth of knowledge on display at Quiz. The motto of this year's National Quiz is "Ancora Imparo," Italian for "I am still learning" - attributed to Michelangelo - and anybody interested in horses can learn something by visiting this Quiz. Games stations are Saturday afternoon, and I.D. Tables are Sunday morning.
For more information including a detailed schedule and a list of the games, go to the Canadian Pony Club website, www.CanadianPonyClub.org, and follow the links under International, National and Zone events.