Typical Testing Procedure at Club Level



  • Each club offers tests at least twice a year and more often if the number of candidates warrants it. Since a club's instruction program is based on the Standards of Proficiency, a rating test measures a child's progress in that program
  • Approximately four weeks prior to the rating, notification about the date, place, time, attire, what to bring, meal arrangements, cost (if any), etc., will be sent. Copies of the particular Standard and Test Sheet are distributed to candidates.
  • Whenever possible, ratings are completed in one day.
  • At the D1-C2 levels, if it is necessary to conduct a test over several days, all requirements must be completed within a four-week time period.
  • Oral examinations are used for the Horse Management sections at all levels. Orals are conducted on a one-to-one or small group basis at the D level, and in very small groups of three to four at the C level. Candidates are afforded an opportunity to express what they know.
  • Ratings tests cover the requirements listed on the Standards of Proficiency for that rating level, and candidates can be tested on any prior rating levels.
  • A safe and reliable mount is required for ratings tests at all levels. Any candidate's, parent's, or DC's concerns about a given horse or pony should be discussed with the Organizer or the Examiner well before the rating test.
  • The borrowing or sharing of suitable mounts is allowed at the D1 through D3 level, but only if the rider is familiar with the mount and has ridden it - prior to the testing - on the flat and over fences safely and successfully at the level being tested.
  • At the C1 and C2 levels, a mount may not be shared for a full testing by candidates at the same testing. The exchange of mounts for testing purposes is not allowed below the C3 level.
  • A new USPC member who is young and inexperienced may become a D1 and then take two to four years to achieve the D3. An older, more experienced rider may be capable of passing several rating levels at the first testing. However, the D1 to C2 Program Committee strongly suggests that a new member be rated no higher than D3 at a first rating, so that he or she can gain a broad experience of USPC.
  • In the event a candidate receives permission to try for more than one level at the first rating, both candidate and examiner must have copies of all Standards and Test Sheets up to and including the level desired. Each level of horse management will be covered. The oral sections of each level will be covered first. If any part is not passed, the candidate will take the riding test at the rating level at which the oral requirements were completed. If successful, the candidate will be awarded that rating; if not, the rating appropriate to the riding Standard achieved will be awarded. Once the first rating day has been completed, a USPC member may take only one rating at a time, and each rating must be fully completed before the next one is attempted.
  • Subsequent testings: Candidates are responsible for, and can be tested on, the requirements of any previous level.
  • Orals: Oral questioning can take place in a quiet room or under a tree, although many questions will be asked while the horse is present in order to demonstrate skills. Often one examiner will do the actual "hands-on" and riding sections, while someone else does the oral questioning. In a testing that includes several rating levels, one group might ride while another is doing orals, and vice-versa.

Sample Ratings Test Schedule:

  • Horse Management (hands on: saddling, grooming, etc.).
  • Turnout/Inspection (questions such as parts of the horse, tack, conformation, shoeing, etc., may be asked at this time).
  • Flat riding phase
  • Riding in the open (D2 and up)
  • Cooling out
  • Other Horse Management skills (hands-on)
  • Oral questioning phase (parents can be used to watch horses at this time)

Required Rider Equipment for Testing:

All Levels:

  • a properly fitted equestrian helmet, securely fastened, containing certification that it meets or exceeds the criteria established by a national or international safety body, is required to participate in any USPC activity (see USPC Policy 0125A).
  • Hard-soled shoes that cover the ankle or boots with heels
  • Halter, lead rope, bucket
  • Grooming kit

D1 and D2 Levels:

  • Basic grooming tools
  • Protective boots and/or bell boots, if needed


  • Up-to-date Pony Health & Maintenance Record Book (3 months minimum)
  • Protective boots and/or bell boots
  • Stable bandages


  • Correct formal or informal attire
  • Record Book (6 months minimum)
  • Shipping bandages
  • Simple conditioning schedule


  • Correct formal or informal attire 
  • Record Book (9 months minimum)
  • Shipping and stable bandages
  • Thermometer and watch with second hand
  • Letter from DC in reference to teaching program
  • Longeing equipment appropriate for horse