Junior Equine Skills Programme 

What It's All About

The Junior Equine Skills Programme (previously known as the Riders Without Horses Programme) provides an opportunity for children aged 7 – 13 years who are interested in horses, but don't have their own horse or pony, to learn about horses and how to care for them.

It is a great preliminary step for parents thinking of future horse or pony ownership for their child, to find out if their child is really interested in horses and willing to commit to caring for a horse.  It also helps parents learn a little about what is involved in caring for a horse and the level of involvement that they themselves would require to support their child in owning a horse.

It is also a great way to get involved in the Pony Club itself, make friends and get some support from knowledgeable horsey people if you should decide to lease or purchase a horse.


Participants of the Junior Equine Skills Programme join Henderson Valley Pony Club, and pay a membership fee of $125.00 for the 10 week programme.  This includes a $45 National affiliation fee for NZPCA (the New Zealand Pony Club Association).  The remaining $80 fee covers the cost of enrolment into the Junior Equine Skills programme, and the fee to participate in weekly 'rallies' (group lessons) with a coach to learn about horses and horse care topics.  All members under 18 years of age must also have a parent as a member as per NZPCA rules, which has a cost of $32 to cover affiliation fees to NZPCA, Area and District.


The Pony Club season runs during spring, summer and autumn, with rallies starting in October and running through to the start of April, with a break for Christmas/New Year.  Rallies are on Wednesday evenings from 6.00pm to 7.30pm on the Pony Club grounds (Junior Equine Skills sessions are 1 hour and run from 6.00pm to 7.00pm).  Rallies are held in all weather, with activities moving indoors when it is raining or bad weather.

Junior Equine Skills members are Pony Club members and are most welcome to purchase Pony Club uniform if they like (a blue Pony Club polo shirt).  However, it is not compulsory, and participants are able to wear any tidy suitable clothing (jodphurs or long pants/jeans) and safe footwear (closed over shoes such as jodhpur boots or sports shoes).

The Programme

Each participant will have a Junior Equine Skills Workbook which serves as a record for the coach to record attendance and monitor progress as the participant progresses through each stage of the horse management and equine knowledge topics.

On completion of the topics, and revision to ensure that the member has sufficient knowledge to achieve the required level, the record card is signed off by the coach.  Junior Equine Skills  members can then receive a Junior Equine Skills Achievement Certificate at the completion of the programme.

Junior Equine Skills Members will learn about horses and caring for them, learn some practical skills, complete some creative work on equine topics and earn achievement patches.

Rally Topics

Some of the main horse management and equine knowledge subjects covered:

- Learn about Pony Club, and equine general knowledge topics including parts of the horse,  horse colours and markings. 

- Learn about safety factors for handling horses, including catching, leading and tying up. 

- Learn about grooming a horse, and how to put on a cover. 

- Learn about the saddle and bridle, how to tack up a horse, and how to clean saddlery. 

- Learn about why we feed horses, types of feedstuffs and rules of feeding. 

- Learn about suitable paddocks, and what horses need.

- Learn about basic horse health. 

- Learn about horse behaviour. 

- Learn about some of theoretical aspects of riding, such as how to mount/dismount, how to sit in   the saddle, and basic aids.

More Information

For more information, please contact the Henderson Valley Pony Club Secretary, Hayley Wheeler, Ph: 021 781 794, Email: [email protected].  You can also check out the flyer for the Junior Equine Skills Programme under the 'Membership' and then 'Membership Forms' tab.

The Junior Equine Skills Programme is a 10 week programme that runs from October to December.

Please note: the Junior Equine Skills Programme does not involve children being taught how to ride.  Whilst, there are horses/ponies available to the group to handle and learn horse care responsibilities, there is no riding involved other than an occasional led pony ride perhaps if a riding member is kind enough to lend their pony.