Emeline Crain, 12, and Karlie Seifert, 11, are awarded their United States Pony Club D-1 certification.

Two members of the Liberty Oaks Pony Club earned their D-1 certification on June 28 at Gateway Farm in Acampo. Emeline Crain, 12, of Galt and Karlie Seifert, 11, of Stockton were tested on horsemanship and horse management skills required by the United States Pony Clubs. The D-1 certification is the first rating that new members earn. Both Crain and Seifert rode horses belonging to Gateway Farm for their certification.

The D-1 examiner, Ann Fickert of Lockeford, tested the candidates on areas such as riding on the flat and over ground poles at the walk and trot, and about their practical knowledge in areas such as tack, leading, hoof care, nutrition, health care and safety. Both Crain and Seifert tested on the eventing track, but there are also mounted tracks for Hunter Seat Equitation, Dressage and Western.

“Pony Club fosters a passion for horses and keeps them busy with safe and healthy activity both mentally and physically,” said Sharise Crain, mother of Emeline.

Emeline and Seifert both joined LOPC in January. Pony Club is an international organization for children and adults with an interest in horses to learn more about horsemanship and horse management skills.

“Pony Club goes way beyond teaching riding and horse management,” said Elizabeth Jenner, owner of Gateway Farm and founder of LOPC. “The skills they learn here serve them later in life.”

Members are expected to learn to care for their mounts independently. They compete in riding competitions as a team and are not allowed outside assistance from parents or other adults.

“They learn time management, organization, confidence, how to speak with adults and work as a team,” Jenner said.

LOPC was founded in 1993 and is a part of the Sierra Pacific Region Pony Clubs. The United States Pony Clubs, Inc., develops character, leadership, confidence, and a sense of community in youth through a program that teaches the care of horses and ponies, riding and mounted sports. For more information on membership, contact Allison Gamma at allisongamma@gmail.com