USPC has three basic goals for members: riding instruction, development of horse care responsibilities, and participation in various mounted sports. USPC is unique because its educational programs place equal emphasis on the teaching of riding skills, horse-care fundamentals, and team participation with sportsmanship. From the moment children join USPC until they graduate, they are part of a broad network of activities and educational programs that promote the health and safety of both horse and rider. USPC is dedicated to developing knowledgeable, competent, responsible, and caring horsemen. USPC prepares its members in two ways to take on the responsibilities of horse care.
First, all clubs have a Horse Management program designed to teach skills and provide knowledge as members progress through the ratings in accordance with the USPC Standards of Proficiency. The style of Horse Management instruction varies from region to region and from club to club; however, every program is developed on the basis of the Standards, and the result is a common level of knowledge for youngsters at any given rating level.
Second, USPC prepares members for the responsibilities of horse ownership by judging Horse Management practices at all rallies. The competitors are judged within their respective rating levels on their knowledge and application of sound, practical horse care principles acquired through Horse Management instruction and regular practice. The evaluation of competitors' performances at rallies reinforces the information taught at the club level. The emphasis of Horse Management judging is always on the health and safety of both horse and rider.
Horse Management instruction and experience in USPC is designed to encourage inquiry into the nature of horse care and safety, based on logical and practical reasoning as well as common sense.
Horse Management training also promotes sportsmanship, and it helps develop the confidence required for sensible decision making.
Members should use the current Standards of Proficiency as a reference for the Horse Management requirements of the various ratings. It is particularly useful to refer to the Study Guides listed on the back of each Standard. However, there is no limit to the useful knowledge of Horse Management. At home and at rallies, situations will often arise that may call for Horse Management techniques beyond those required of a given rating.
The Horse Management program in USPC stresses and teaches safety first. The health of members and their mounts is of primary importance. To this end, the program for all levels stresses preventative techniques, common sense and daily routines within a reasonable framework of expectations. Members must realize that all horse sports require effective care of the horse. Therefore, the instruction program is incorporated into all USPC activities.
We are fortunate in Middle California to have two experienced Chief Horse Management Judges (CHMJ). Please contact them if you would like help with your advice or help with HM questions.