USPC competitive rallies provide an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in an atmosphere of cooperation, fun and teamwork.
A competitive rally allows USPC members to test their skills against others. In addition, rallies are educational experiences that expose participants to new ideas and ways of doing things.
Competitive rallies can be unmounted, as in Quiz, where teams of four members compete in a verbal quiz. Other USPC rallies are mounted, involving teams of three, four or five riders and, in most disciplines, an unmounted Horse Manager.
Rallies can be small and informal, such as a rally for D-level members within a single club, or they can be interclub competitions. Or rallies can be larger and more formal, such as regional rallies.
Rally teams are usually selected by the DC, often with input from the club instructor. The criteria for team selection should be explained early in the year.
In a regional rally, teams of USPC members from a particular area test their skills without outside help, but with the advice and support of judges and officials. Teamwork, cooperation and high standards are stressed and outside assistance is limited to coaching in restricted situations.
Some regions hold rallies for each discipline (i.e. a Dressage rally in addition to a Eventing rally and a Quiz rally) while others hold one large rally for several disciplines.
USPC competitive rallies teach members about themselves, about support and reliance on others, about sportsmanship, and about personal growth involved in winning and losing.
Dressage is the art of improving your horse, making him more supple in his movements, a joy to ride and beautiful to watch. He must be a willing partner with a good mental attitude, willing to learn and wanting to please.
Competitions are held at many levels, beginning with Walk-Trot and Training Level, and continuing through nine levels to Grand Prix. During Championships, each rider chooses any two USA Equestrian tests at any level his horse will best be able to perform. Each team must also present either three Kurs, or two Kurs and a Pas de Deux. A Kur, or Musical Freestyle, is an original ride, executed from memory and ridden to music. Artistic impression and technical merit are judged. A Pas de Deux is an original ride to music that is designed for two riders together in the dressage arena. Beginning in 2003, Quadrille will be added as a new division. Quadrille is a test performed by four riders who execute mirror image movements in a small arena.
For all dressage tests, riders are awarded scores on each required movement. Riding scores are added to those for Horse Management for overall placement of dressage teams.
Eventing is the three-phase riding competitions that originated in the cavalries of Europe. These tests were formalized as competitions for military personnel in France in 1902.
The horses had to be well trained for ceremonial parades. They also had to be fit enough to carry dispatches for long distances over any sort of terrain as quickly as possible, as demonstrated in the cross-country phase. Stadium jumping competition determined the horses' stamina, resilience and fitness to continue in service after completion of the previous two phases.
Today, Eventing tests a horse's versatility to a greater degree than any other equestrian sport. USPC Eventing Rallies are competitions, not lessons. Riders and mounts must come to the rally capable of competition at the level entered.
The USPC Games Program is intended to provide reinforcement of riding skills taught in USPC in a more relaxed environment than the formal lesson. As the Games players become more confident, competition becomes a part of the program and adds a new dimension of incentive and excitement. Perhaps the most interesting part of Games instruction lies in the fact that riders seldom realize their riding confidence and skills are improving.
Games are an activity that the newest unrated rider can enjoy, as well as the more capable Ds and Cs.
A Quiz competition is an unmounted team "quiz bowl" that tests the USPC member's knowledge in several rounds of questions. Some questions are individual questions and some require the input of the whole team.
Regional competitions are held every year, and from these team members qualify for Championships. Quiz competitors are placed in different divisions according to age and rating. This provides the maximum opportunity for each member to compete on an equal basis.
Some of the areas of knowledge that are tested include horse management, health, veterinary care, equitation, hunting, trailering, bitting, spectator sports, rally rules, safety, nutrition, and conformation.
While Regional competitions are open to all members in the Region, competitors must be ten years of age or older to qualify for the national Championships.
Polocrosse is a game related to polo but played with a racquet similar to that used in Lacrosse. The game was developed in Australia in the late 1930s, where it has been played with great enthusiasm ever since. Polocrosse has been embraced internationally, and through clinics and rallies is growing across the U.S.
A natural extension of USPC games, Polocrosse offers riders a chance to develop strong self confidence in their riding ability, especially riding in the open, and to improve their hand-eye coordination.
Polocrosse also strengthens the rider's ability to do more than one thing at a time while riding. Basic Dressage training is important in developing good Polocrosse horses, as they must have good balance and respond well to the aids. Horses quickly catch on, and seem to enjoy the game as much as their riders!
Show Jumping is an exciting sport which originated in the late 18th century as a part of foxhunting. Show Jumping competitions take place both in indoor and outdoor arenas.
Show Jumping utilizes physical skills to negotiate a series of obstacles and mental skills to plan the proper approaches to allow the horse to jump the obstacles. Riders must have the ability to ride the course according to plan and, at the national level, the stamina to ride on consecutive days.
USPC members may learn the principles and techniques of designing, building, walking, assessing and riding Show Jumping courses.
Tetrathlon events include swimming, Show Jumping, running, and shooting. Each activity is performed at different levels of difficulty based on age. The Tetrathlon program provides a challenging competition requiring sound, practical horsemanship and general athletic ability of USPC members.
Its objective is to encourage USPC members to broaden their interest in riding and the horse, and to become multi-sport athletes.
The development of Tetrathlon within the USPC has been sought by organizers of the U.S. Modern Pentathlon and U.S. Olympic Committees as a means of developing multi-talented athletes for international competitions.
They offer guidance and training programs for outstanding athletes who meet their requirements for skill and endurance.