proficiency levels

Riders work towards certificate levels at Rally days and revisit that information at clinics.  To find out more about certificates please ask one of the instructors.

D and D* can be tested at a club level

C, C*,K, B, A  to be tested at zone or PCAQ level.

Workbooks are available for all riders to assist in obtaining proficiency level.

Below is an overview of the Certificates

D Standard


  • To gain confidence in riding, handling and caring for a pony • To be keen to learn and improve

Candidates must have reasonable control of their ponies. Some help may be given, such as allowing ponies to work in company. Many games are suitable for teaching if taken at an appropriate pace. The recommended age by PCAQ for taking the test is 7 years.

D * Standard


  • To work towards a balanced seat and independence of the reins
  • To improve the rider’s control of the pony
  • To have an elementary knowledge of the care of the pony

Candidates must have control of their ponies and show a more secure and correct position for flat work and jumping.

This Certificate is an extra activity for any club wishing to include it in their curriculum and fills in the years from 8 to 9. The D* Certificate is not a pre-requisite for any subsequent Test. The recommended age by PCAQ for taking the test is 9 years

C Standard


  • To attain a balanced seat, independent of the reins on the flat and over small fences. • To show control of the pony at all paces. • To demonstrate knowledge of horsemanship as outlined in the examination format.

Candidates should be encouraged to ride in snaffle bits wherever possible. If another bit is used, the candidate should know the name and understand its action.

The rider should be able to maintain consistent contact through the reins. In checking diagonals or leading leg, the candidate may drop the eyes to look at the shoulders, but may not drop the head or lean forward. Ideally the concept of “feel” through the seat should be introduced at this stage. The forward jumping position/s with a steady lower leg should be established by the time of the test. To obtain a secure and steady seat candidates should be encouraged to hold on to the mane or a neck strap over the jump. The recommended age by PCAQ for taking the test is 11 years.

C* Standard


  • To become an active rider with knowledge of the aids and how to apply them correctly and effectively. •
  • To ride simple cross country and showjumping fences
  • To gain practical experience and knowledge of the care and conditioning of the horse in preparation for a strenuous event.
  • To have a thorough knowledge of the Road Rules for horses as apply to your State.   •
  • To ride safely and sensibly on the roads and in the country.

This is an alternative Certificate to the K Certificate which bridges the gap between C and B Certificates. Its purpose is to provide an incentive for members who, having achieved C Certificate would value an interim test to check progress and maintain interest. Recommended age by PCAQ for taking the test is 12 years.

K Standard


  • To widen the candidate’s experience in various aspects of horsemastership.
  • To become an active, efficient rider who is thoughtful for the horse.
  • To improve skills in horsemastership, and other horse related activities.

This is an alternative Certificate to C*, between C & B. It is designed for the active rider, and covers many equestrian aspects not included in other Certificates. The “K” comprises a compulsory section and a wide variety of optional subjects. Recommended age by PCAQ for taking the test is 13 years.

B Standard


  • To become a competent, all-round rider, who knows the reasons for what he/she is doing and is able to assess results.
  • To ride over different types of fences at specified paces. •
  • To be capable of riding and jumping any well-mannered horse or pony, and commenting on its way of moving.   
  • To be capable of joining in any suitable Pony Club activities of interest to the rider, e.g. Eventing, hunting, trekking, Gymkhanas, etc. and looking after the horse before, during and after the day’s activity.
  • To gain knowledge and practical experience of the care and conditioning of horses and to be able to look after a stabled horse   
  • To ride intelligently and with due regard for others on the roads and in the country, with a knowledge of pace and distance.

Recommended age by PCAQ for taking the test is 15 years.

A Standard


  • To become an educated horse person, able to ride with confidence, style and polish on the flat and over fences. • To understand the principles of training, including young horses, as taught in Pony Club and be able to put these principles into practice. • To be capable of riding and jumping horses of all temperaments and stages of training and of assessing a horse’s potential and how it could be schooled to improve ride and performance.   • To gain wide knowledge of the care and conditioning of horses.   • To have a sound knowledge of the organization and running of Pony Club Australia and the Candidate’s own State Association   • Knowledge of other societies and organizations connected with horses.

The preparation for the “A” test should be progressive and continuous. It is an exam for the serious and dedicated rider who is prepared to devote thought, time and effort to improving his/her riding and knowledge of training a young horse. The years between B and A Certificates must be spent in conscious preparation. Intense or “crash” courses seldom result in success.

Recommended age by PCAQ for taking the test is 17 years.

E Standard


An E certificate has recently been added which is for the very young riders (pre-school aged), to gain confidence riding and enjoy their pony.