Got some time on your hands? Feeling a bit bored? Why don't you join a club! There are lots of horsey clubs to join-and even if you don't have a horse, you can still sign up and have fun. Being in a club is a great way to meet horse-crazy people like yourself, and you might get to hang around horses.
We looked at a few clubs. One might be perfect for you!
1. The United States Pony Club
Pony Club teaches riding, mounted sports and horse care to young people through the age of 21. Join Pony Club and learn how to look after your horse or pony properly, try a new sport like combined training and take part in special competitions. The Pony Club holds instructional rallies so you can improve your riding skills, and most local clubs have fun summer camps, too. Contact the USPC to get information about a club in your area or check out its website: www.ponyclub.org
USPC, 4071 Ironworks Pike, Lexington, KY 40511; 606-254-PONY
There's a 4-H club in almost every town in the United States. The 4-H offers a lot of activities, but the horsey ones will appeal to young riders. Equestrian 4-H groups hold instructional meetings and group trail rides. These clubs hold horse shows to raise money for the club and for charities. Join your local 4-H and it's likely that you'll learn horse-care skills, and participate in fun shows. To join your local 4-H, look up your local Cooperative Extension Office in your telephone book under County Government.
4-H, 7100 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815; 301-961-2840 or 1-800-368-7432
3. American Junior Paint Horse Association
It's fun hanging around other people who love Paint Horses as much as you do. The AJPHA is for all kids interested in Paint Horses. You don't have to own one to join the club. Members receive a membership card, pin, decal, a subscription to Painted Press and a rulebook. If you join, you'll also be eligible to take part in fun APHA programs including annual photo, essay and art contests, and you might win an APHA youth scholarship. You can also attend the AJPHA Youth Leadership Conference.
AJPHA, P.O. Box 961023, Fort Worth, TX 76161; 817-439-3400
4. American Quarter Horse Youth Association
The American Quarter Horse Association is dedicated to getting kids hooked on Quarter Horses! More than 30,000 young people, from dozens of countries, are members of their youth association. Wow! That's a lot of Quarter Horse lovers! AQHYA offers lots of fun activities, including writing, photography and drawing contests. It also offers the Wrangler Star Program which provides you with workbooks that teach you about horse care. This is a four-level program and prizes are awarded to you when you complete a level. The AQHA also hosts a huge world championship show for young people every year in Texas.
AQHYA, P.O. Box 200, Amarillo, TX 79168, 806-376-4811
5. Appaloosa Horse Youth Association
The AHYA was set up so kids could have lots of fun on their Appaloosas. The club has programs which help kids learn how to ride and teaches themhow to train horses properly. It also gives recognition to kids who ride, show and breed Appaloosas. Activities may include team tournaments, speech contests, judging contests, youth clinics, scholarships, shows, meetings and conventions.
The AYA offers a national point system. Points earned may lead to various lifetime awards, annual high point awards and awards to recognize outstanding youth horses. You have to be 18 or under to join the AHYA.
AHYC, 2720 W. Pullman Road, Moscow, ID 83843; (208) 882-5578
6. International Arabian Horse Youth
Love Arabian Horses? This is the club for you if you're under 18. Whether you own a horse or not, you can get experience riding, caring for and showing horses with other kids who love Arabians. As a member, you'll get a year's subscription to International Arabian Horse, plus you'll get to enter lots of contests and be eligible for scholarships and awards. Check out its Web site or call 303-696-4500 for more information.
International Arabian Horse Association, 10805 East Bethany Drive, Aurora, CO 80014
7. American Morgan Horse Association Youth
The AMHAY is open to young people under 22 who want to improve their horsemanship skills and learn all they can about Morgan Horses. You don't need to own a Morgan to join this association-you just have to love them! When you join the AMHAY you'll receive lots of cool stuff, including a membership card and decal and lots of information about Morgans. You'll also be able to work toward Achievement Levels, enter special show classes, participate in photo contests and apply for scholarships.
American Morgan Horse Association, P.O. Box 960, Shelburne, VT 05482; 802-985-4944
8. National High School Rodeo Association
The National High School Rodeo Association was created to give high school students the opportunity to participate and compete in rodeos. Members compete in lots of activities, including cattle cutting, pole bending, barrel racing and team roping.
NHSRA members compete at state levels for local recognition and the top four contestants in each event qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo held annually in July. More than 1,500 contestants compete for national titles, awards, and scholarships.
NHSRA, 11178 North Huron, Suite 7, Denver, CO 80234; 303 452 0820
9. National Little Britches Rodeo Association
The NLBRA is a western program that features all the rugged events of professional rodeo for boys and girls, ages 8 to 18. Members compete in rodeos that offer classes, including trail classes, breakaway calf roping, barrel racing, pole bending, bull riding, calf roping and team roping. There are more than 150 NLBRA rodeos a year.
As a member of the NLBRA, you'll receive accident insurance as well as a subscription to the NLBRA News, which is published monthly.
NLBRA, 1045 West Rio Grande, Colorado Springs, CO 80906; 719-389-0333
10. United Thoroughbred Fan Clubs
A club for kids who love Thoroughbreds and are interested in racing. Check out the Web site to find out what it's like to work in the racing industry, check out different tracks and learn about lots of famous racehorses. You'll also get information about big races like the Kentucky Derby-and you might win a chance to attend a top race meet. You've got to be 18 or under to join the United Thoroughbred Fan Clubs.