Breed Association Youth Groups
Joining a horse club is a good way to meet other horse people and learn from them. Through the connections you make as a club member, you'll have access to firsthand accounts of local instructors and boarding facilities. Most horse breeds have a breed association that promotes them, and it's easy to locate these on the Internet simply by entering the breed name in a search engine. Breed associations realize that young riders comprise future adult members of their organization, and they encourage youths to be interested in their breed and take part in youth activities.
The Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America has a special youth program directed toward the many young people who ride Welsh Mountain ponies. As the name implies, this popular breed hails from Wales. The Welsh Cob is a larger version of the Welsh pony. In the United States, the breed can be found competing in nearly every riding discipline — English and Western pleasure, hunter/jumper, driving, dressage, and combined training. The club's website,
There are more than 600 Pony Clubs in the United States, with more than 12,000 members. The pony in the name actually refers to the young rider, not the mount. Pony Club members can ride either ponies or horses. Parental involvement is encouraged and expected. There is a membership fee. To find a group near you, look on the Pony Club website at
The AQHYA is for youths eighteen years old and under. The group has 30,000 members and offers scholarships, youth-specific shows, classes in general shows, a leadership conference, and other focused activities, such as the Youth Racing Experience. Visit the AQHA website at
Like other breed-specific groups, this association exists for youths involved with Arabian horses. The IAHYA has more than 5,000 members, and its magazine and website (
Dressage is one of the fast-growing equine sports in the United States. The USDF promotes dressage interest and education and offers activities for riders of all ages. The organization accepts individual members as well as those who join through a dressage club, called a GMO or group-member organization. You can find out about clubs in your area by visiting the website at