|Priory of Sion|
|Illuminati and Freemasons|
|Skulls and Bones Yale Society|
Yes, indeed, we have -in our nation- a reclusive and exclusive organization of....little girls and horses.
They even have a elite logo:
Due to happenstance/fate/kismet/the four winds/whatever, I grew up doing the fairly uncommon discipline (for Southern California) of saddleseat. My not-horsey-whatsoever parents signed me up for lessons at the barn that happened to be closest to our house - an American Saddlebred showing and training barn. As such, I did not even hear about Pony Club until I got to college. I thought it was some small local club out in Arizona that one of my barn-mates participated in.
Slowly I came to realize the breadth and depth of this club - a national (possibly even international?) syndicate of locally based charter organizations. Like the mafia.
Information trickled in. A mention here, a comment there. Whispers in the wind...
I keep my ear to the ground and learn that there are levels. Policies. Ratings. Rules. And by-invitation-only rallys. This is getting more secret-society-ish by the second.
Okay, okay, they have a website...but they pull the classic trick of hiding information by providing too much information. Exactly what are the levels and what do they mean? How does one get invited to a rally? The answers are either not on the site or are buried in the pages upon pages of politically correct mumbo-jumbo about youth equine education. I will continue to research...
Also, there seems to be some sort of extremely complex executive hierarchy - with Commissioners, Supervisors and other fancy titles. From what I can gather there are alpha-numeric rating systems, with D being the lowest level like academic grading. But there also are silver and bronze levels. And "H" levels. But there also seem to be quizzes and grades - like a private horse academy. It's getting more complicated by the minute!
The idea of a systematic, organized, community-based education system for young people about horses is quite exciting - something I absolutely would have loved to be involved in when I was younger. My barn had summer camps for kids and I learned about how to ride and how to tack up. But there were definitely horse-care stumbling blocks along the way that only Google could help me with (what is a sheath? how do I clean it?) back when I was 12 years old.
Plus, I'm the kind of person who wants an A+ in everything. Including in horses. ;) Another reason the Pony Club is so interesting. Its the only mechanism I've heard of that tests general horsemanship knowledge. Fabulous concept.
I'll continue to research and report back.