West Tennessee Pony Club is a very old established club.
It was started in the late 1950's.
The following are a few of the charter members memories and memoirs:
A WTPC Memoir
by Julie Burrows, Charter Member
An Old Club
My club and yours, the West Tennessee Pony Club, is a very old club. Here are examples that show just how old we are.
# 1. When WTPC first began there were still a few horses around that wore the U.S. Calvary brand even though the Calvary disbanded in 1944. The ones I knew belonged to families of pony club members.
# 2. Way back in the first part of the 1950!s safety in horseback riding was not stressed like it is today. Hard hats were more like velvet caps formed around hard plastic. They did not have chin straps. Hats, both caps and top hats, were worn only on special occasions such as formal hunts and some horse shows. Inflatable vests, so popular now, were worn only for water sports.
# 3. The care and feeding of a horse or pony was not up to today!s standards. There were no supplements. Packaged feed as we know it today was not yet on the market. Corn, oats and bran were the grains. Our hay was usually grass and lespedeza, much like today!s local hay. Single-horse trailers and “horse boxes” were used for transporting horses long distances. We hacked to the hunt meets and gymkhanas and rarely had to ride on paved roads. We rode around cotton fields, on tractor roads and horse farms to events like fox-hunting.
The idea of starting a pony club came from two sources: our friends from Middle Tennessee Pony Club and by reading articles in The Chronicle of The Horse.
At first we did not have The Manual of Horsemanship. To solve this problem our Middle Tennessee friends would mail us the necessary information for acquiring ratings on memo-graphed sheets of paper. We rapidly progressed through the “D” rating. Later we used the newer second edition of the manual, dated 1950 - 1954. With the coaching of Bart and Mary Mueller we quickly moved up to a “C” rating. A “C” back then would be more like a “D-3” in today!s rating. The ratings were only the letter without the numbers. The “B!! and “A” ratings were a little more difficult to achieve. My friend, Alice Newbern Davis, was the only one of our little group to get an “A” rating. She and her horse were required to travel to a distant examiner, as there were very few that could qualify for an “A” in the fifties. I stayed at home and proudly got my “B.”
Pony Club Activities
We were fox-hunters before, during and after our club was formed. Yet pony club added other dimensions. We learned about Eventing. A dressage arena was laid out on pasture grass, which soon turned to dust as we practiced the tests. Mr Mueller, as he politely called back then, constructed a challenging cross-country and stadium jumping course. We organized gymkhanas in the summer. We even tried a few mock hunts, called Paper Chases, which were not nearly as exciting as our real hunts in the fall and winter. Back then our hunts were truly “fox” hunts without today!s deer or coyotes. Our biggest challenges were crossing Nonconnah Creek with its steep sides and quick sand
and keeping the hounds from chasing loose pigs and chickens. Fox hunting, practice in dressage, cross country and jumping, all of these skills made us believe in ourselves during rallies and events in Nashville!s Percy Warner Park. However at my first three- day event I got off course during the cross-country and was eliminated. My friend, Alice, lost her way in the surrounding mountains on the “Roads and Tracks” part of the competition. It wasn!t long after this that Pony Club did away with that part of Eventing. Some of our fondest memories in our early Pony Club days took place in Percy Warner Park although Middle Tennessee often took the blue ribbon.
My Pony Club Family
With good memories of my pony club days and a barn full of horses to care for, I encouraged my three daughters to be a part of the camaraderie, discipline, competition and horse-keeping skills that pony club has to offer. Yet only two had the temperament for the strict rules required to be members. My oldest daughter was a rebel who rode her pinto pony bareback without a helmet, with such hard-headiness she thought she didn!t need one. She and her friend (who now successfully shows jumpers throughout the U.S) were not pony club material. Their fun came from racing the train that ran behind our pasture or galloping together in the large unkept acreage across the road. They thought it fun to teach our young colt to kick out when he was touched on his rump. Meanwhile my other girls went to pony club camps, free lessons and weekly meetings. As for my rebel child, it seems that racing trains at a full gallop was good training for following hounds in full cry. As it turns out, she loved fox-hunting as much as I did. Ironically she is now very much involved in pony club and has been for years. Her oldest daughter, my granddaughter, has “B” and “A” horse mastership ratings. She regularly works with the younger members. Daughter, Alice, very much the horsewoman, competes in Events in WA where she lives. My barn manager now is my daughter Helen. We all depend on her help with her excellent care of four horses. Helen is noted for her ability to train and compete her agility dogs.
West Tennessee Pony Club has played a big part in my life as well as my family!s and continues to do so.
One of Julie Burrows' original Pins
From Alice Newbern- Charter member
Alice Newbern Davis b. 11/30/1941
I can remember when we chose the name "West Tennessee" for our group. Bart and Mary Mueller were the adults who started the group from encouragement from their friends, the Magli's, in Nashville, if I remember correctly.
Horses I rode in pony club:
Mambo and Dutch Treat.
First. I am sure I rode Dutch and believe the Rally was in Nashville). Mambo was 5 ys. to 8 yrs. when I had her, and 17 hands tall. She was TB/Percheron. Dutch was about 5 when I bought her, part TB, part Quarter horse, and I took her with me when I founded The University Equestrian Center at The University of The South in Sewanee, TN. In her teen years, she foaled a cute colt named Notions and a filly named Miss Treat. Dutch was a favorite at the University Equestrian Center, and taught many riders young and old.
I loved it all. Mambo and Dutch were great on Cross Country, so that was always an
exciting event for me. But I loved fox-hunting with Longreen and Bart Mueller. Neither horse followed very well, so as a teenager, Bart asked me to be Field Master. Understand that we were a small group in those days. Julie Johnston Burrows was a whipper-in, often riding Punch. I enjoyed the written tests and stable management phases of Rallies. As I got older, Dressage became my passion.
What did I like best about Pony Club?
What a hard question, I loved it all!
Looking back, I would say that this was a beginning to discovering who I am. I was so shy as a child, that I pretty much followed others. Pony Club gave me a chance to be a leader and help others. After I went away to college, I would come home in the summer and coach younger PC members for the summer Rallies. I later was a DC in two different locations.h Treat ( Dutch Treat was my more frequent "pony" for Rallies.