NOTE: This is the 2013/2016 syllabus for A Certificate. The A Certificate curriculum is due to be updated by Pony Club Australia in late 2019 and will be
updated on The Equine Club website as soon as it is published 2020.
The B Certificate is a prerequisite.
The A Certificate is the highest award of the Pony Club and provides a comprehensive assessment in horsemastership for well trained and experienced members.
The Candidate must present for the test on a qualified (rally attendance requirements) horse suitable for this level and able to demonstrate all requirements of the A Certificate.
Candidates will be examined riding experienced and 'green' horses on the flat and will be asked to assess each horse and discuss its ongoing training program.
The successful A Certificate rider should be able to demonstrate all the skills of the B Certificate, plus the following:
Under Saddle - on the Flat
• Show correct paces with the horse on the bit and working towards collection
• Perform and explain the aids for each of the following movements using correct and appropriate terminology:
o Medium trot and canter
o Half pirouette at walk
o Simple change of leg
o Counter canter o Rein back
o Shoulder-in at trot.
• The candidate must:
o Show an established position and be able to maintain the correct position while applying the aids. Position to be consistent and correct on both reins with an effective lower leg
o Have a sound knowledge of training terms, e.g. impulsion, on the bit, etc., and of the stages of training
o Be able to change the horse’s frame, outline and length of stride and maintain its balance throughout all work
o Be able to assess the way the horse is working and recognise when the horse is out of balance and be able to improve it
o Use simple exercises/school figures, to show horse is willing to move away from the leg, accept driving and restraining aids, and control line of travel and straightness in the horse
o Show good use of allocated area and understanding of exercises and school figures appropriate to the horse’s training and performance on the day
o Encourage the horse to work with a softer, rounder back
o Demonstrate/have knowledge of exercises to improve the rider's position
o Be able to give feedback using correct and appropriate terminology.
• There should be some discussion on whether the rider has trained the horse, and how long the combination has been together. The horse should:
o Be forward, active and show relaxation
o Be consistent in rhythm and tempo in all paces with an even acceptance of the bridle on both reins
o Be forward and obedient in transitions both within the pace and from one pace to another
o Show correct flexion and bend.
• Discuss half pass, travers and renvers
• Ride in a double bridle. The candidate must be able to:
o Correctly fit a double bridle
o Demonstrate a good knowledge of the action of and reasons for using a double bridle
o Know types of bridoons and curbs.
Under Saddle – Jumping
Jumping is to be assessed over fences with a maximum height of 1.10m and minimum height of 1.00m. Course should be a minimum of nine jumps and include combinations, changes of direction, related fences and a mixture of straight and spread fences.
• Show a well-established, correct and adaptable jumping position over show jumps and cross-country fences.
o Candidate must be looking to line with good eye contact, soft elbows and hands, following but not restricting contact and a very established lower leg position. Turns and transitions must be ridden correctly.
• Control of the horse's pace and stride. o Horse to be working in a relaxed and correct frame with activity, rhythm, tempo, consistent contact and control of line.
o Horse to be working through the paces showing correct transitions, straightness and correct bend and flexion through all work.
o Candidate to be asked to show landing on a specified leading leg. Flying changes should be automatic.
o Candidate to demonstrate pace work.
• Sound knowledge of the use of gymnastic exercises to improve a horse's jumping.
o Understand the use of trot and canter poles to help establish rhythm.
o Set up gymnastic exercises for use at trot and canter and to demonstrate knowledge of gymnastic training programmes, with exercises for educating, schooling, correcting problems and improving the horse’s techniques at all levels.
• Build schooling fences. o Show knowledge of distances and understanding of the length of a horse’s nonjumping stride
• Show balance and control over a variety of cross-country terrain and fences including banks, ditches, water, apex and arrow-head fences
• Assess the horse's present performance, potential, and how it could be improved
Assessment of Different Horses
• Candidates will be tested on different horses, on the flat and over a few small training fences
• The horses supplied for the candidate to ride must be well known and approved by the Assessor prior to the Assessment. It is suggested that one horse be of Preliminary / Novice level, one of Elementary and the other Medium level. It is important that this section is conducted in a safe, approved and enclosed area
• Candidate will be given 10 – 20 minutes to ride and assess the horse in all paces followed by discussion and questioning by the Assessor. The candidate should be able to ride the horse quietly, without upsetting the balance
• The candidate must:
o Approach the horse with a knowledgeable and visual assessment of the horse and gear
o Demonstrate ability to assess relevant information regarding the horse before riding, i.e., tolerance to whip and spurs, level of education, mount correctly, acceptance of aids, horse’s response to new surroundings
o Give an accurate assessment of the horse’s level of education and improvements which could be made.
The candidate should:
• Know the principles and benefits of lungeing
• Know correct equipment required for horse and handler
• Teach a horse to lunge and obey the voice
• Demonstrate control of the horse at walk, trot and canter
• Show medium trot and working canter
A specialist coach is required to teach and examine this module. Correct gear to include:
• Snaffle bridle with either a noseband or lungeing cavesson with reins removed
• Roller with several levels of rings
• Roller pad
• Reins to be approximately 10m long and slide easily through the rings
• Bandages or boots without buckles on all four legs and may use overreach boots
The candidate should:
• Demonstrate a good understanding of the reasons for long-reining
• Discuss the steps and equipment which may be used when starting off a young horse
• Have a very sound knowledge of the safety issues which must be observed
• Demonstrate a competent technique lungeing with two reins in a circle.
o The Candidate must have assisted a horse breaker throughout the breaking in of a horse including halter breaking, tying up
o The Candidate is not required to break-in a horse. He/she must be able to give a clear picture of how the breaking-in is carried out
o Discuss the general handling of foals and weanlings.
• Demonstrate safe practice.
o Lead a horse in hand on near and off side for showing and veterinary inspection.
• Use of twitch, knee hobbles, and other methods of restraint. Apply a twitch and knee hobbles.
Horse Care and Management
• Feeding, Watering, Conditioning
o Knowledge of the horse's digestive system. Peculiarities including stomach capacity, large and small intestine, grazing habits
o Understanding of feed requirements
▪ Methods of feeding
▪ Vitamins and minerals
▪ Calcium : phosphorus ratio.
o Know feeding and conditioning programs for different types of horses for specified work, e.g. One Day Event, Endurance Riding, Pony Club or Centre Camp, horse returning after a spell etc.
o Know how to care for horse before, during and after strenuous work.
o Understand the management of a number of horses at grass including water, feed and fencing
o Assess the quality of pasture in a paddock
o Demonstrate basic knowledge of pasture management and the use of fertilisers, harrowing, topping, weed control and rotation
o Know which weeds/plants are dangerous to horses.
o Show knowledge of stable complex design including dimensions, materials, ventilation and drainage
o Demonstrate fire precautions in stables
o Understand the siting of and building a manure heap
o Explain different types of bedding and preparation of stable bed
o Explain storage of bedding, hay, and hard feed
o Discuss construction and use of yards
o Discuss stable routine for horses in work
o Be able to deal with a cast horse, with assistance
o Discuss vices and undesirable habits of stabled horses
▪ windsucking, weaving, crib biting
▪ biting, kicking
• Transport of horses
o Preparation for travelling horses by road, air or sea
▪ State border, international requirements and travel documentation
▪ adjustment of feed and exercise
▪ protective equipment
▪ monitor for travel sickness and dehydration during and after the trip
▪ introduction of feed and work after a lengthy trip.
o Loading and unloading
▪ demonstrate loading their own horse
▪ discuss methods of loading difficult horses.
o Float maintenance
▪ tyre type and pressure (including spare), condition of bearings,
▪ condition of floor and ramp
▪ be able to check braking system
o Know the state licensing requirements for vehicles towing horse floats.
• Grooming, trimming, clipping
o Know when, why, and how to wash a horse's sheath
o Pull a mane and tail. Describe how to hog a mane
o Demonstrate or discuss how to clip
o Discuss the various types of clips and benefits of each
o Discuss care of the clipped horse
o Describe care of the clipping machine before, during and after use.
• Care of the foot, and shoeing
o Describe the structure of the foot
o Recognise changes in the foot and likely cause, i.e. neglect, poor shoeing, disease
o Knowledge of corrective shoeing - reasons and application of, for example, feather edged shoes, grass tips, bar shoes and pads
o Use of screw-in studs and care of same
o Remove a shoe, trim the foot and refit a shoe under supervision of a farrier.
• Health, ailments and injuries
o Take temperature, pulse and respiration
o Knowledge of internal and external parasites
o Administer a worm paste
o Know the life cycles of large and small strongyles, bots, ascarids, tapeworm and pin worms
o Recognise and treat lice, ringworm, ticks, onchocerca
o Be able to recognise, know the cause of, and treat where applicable:
▪ Rain scald
▪ Seedy toe
▪ Greasy heel
▪ Stomach ulcers
▪ Hoof abscess
▪ Heat stress
o Be able to administer first aid to the horse
▪ Apply a pressure bandage and figure of eight bandage
▪ Know when to call the Veterinarian and describe the horse’s symptoms
▪ Carry out prescribed treatment of wounds, ailments and lameness
▪ Know how to administer medication, including intramuscular injections
▪ Dehydration - symptoms, prevention and treatment.
o Know how to care for the horse's teeth and recognise potential problems. For example, undershot and overshot jaw.
o The candidate must be able to discuss the following unsoundness and blemishes, both hereditary and acquired.
▪ Bog spavin
▪ Roaring and whistling
▪ Bone spavin
▪ Broken wind
▪ Tendon problems
▪ Navicular disease
• Describe effect of poor conformation and bad action on soundness and usefulness
• Discuss the approach to buying and selling a horse, including documentation
• Breeding and care of the young horse
• Breeding procedures and stud management
o service of mares
o period of gestation
o first handling
o weaning of the foal
• Health and condition of the growing horse
Saddlery and Equipment
• Recognise different types of saddles
• Recognise a broken tree
• Know the principles of bitting and the fit, action and use of different bits
• Protective equipment, bandages, boots, kneecaps, hock boots, tail and poll guards
• Organisation of tackroom and veterinary cabinet
• Stitch leather and splice rope
• Demonstrate five knots and their uses.
Industry Knowledge of
• Pony Club structure
• Horse racing in Australia
• Famous horses and people
• Topical equestrian events
• Olympic Games
• World Championships.