As a teenager, I didn't do Pony Club. My parents were NOT horse people and after wishing and begging for a horse for 10 years, they acquiesced and let me have a horse as part of a bribe package. I'm not sure they were aware of what they had done. During the four years of high school that I owned that horse, I worked my tail off, took lessons, and absorbed everything I could possibly absorb from the adults around me. There were no other kids at the barn I was at so I had to behave and work as hard (or harder) than them by default. All this was amazing but it made it a bit mystical to me when I went to clinics.
Due to my age, I naturally was grouped with the Pony Club kids. They seemed like good kids, happy and loving their social group. I don't recall longing to be part of that, but I did envy the fact that they were part of a "program." Adults helping you with ratings and other things like that? A book to follow? Based on European standards? Man, that sounded amazing for a workaholic teen like myself.
But I never did Pony Club and ended up pretty successful without it.
With my son, I'm trying to do some things differently. First, I discouraged him from the horses. Its expensive, dangerous, time consuming and while there are real life lessons to be learned, its a tough road to go. Naturally he wants to ride. And show the dogs, so whatever. He started out earning the ride by doing grooming and other odd jobs. We started doing lessons and then Erica took over them and his form got to look really really good really really fast. Additionally, I was never a social kid. I never craved companionship except from one or two close friends, my animals, and my imagination. My son is not that way. He's outgoing, confident, social, and easily dazzles people. This all means I'm forced to interact with other adults about my kid.
So Pony Club sounded like something I might like to get involved with. It paralleled my changing focus from "family friendly/only trail riding luls" to eventing. Much better than the catty parents at coop sports events, the Pony Club people were very kind, welcoming, and almost over the moon for us to come out. This was at a Jumper Charity event they had put on locally. The leader invited us to try a meeting/rating day that was coming up so we did.
Naturally both the pony and Katy were feeling frisky when the rains came in but Pierce didn't seem to notice. Since both horses are a little too much for Pierce on his own and I wanted to avoid a train wreck with another child's horse, I made arrangements to be the handler for Katy. She was a turd for all the rail parts, but once we stared doing poles and she had a "job" she was easily ridden by Pierce.
Overall it was fun and Pierce loved it (but he loves most outings). The horses need some more work and I want Pierce better prepared with his riding skills but I'd say Pony Club might be something in the next year or so. I'm also looking at the 4H program (we already have most all the critters and gear so why not?) so we'll take it all one step at a time. The right answer always presents itself in good time. :)