Every second you spend in the saddle counts towards your riding goals, but how about towards something more material? There are several organizations around America and the world that offer incentivized riding programs. These programs that reward you for riding by logging the amount of time you spend in the saddle. Finally, a reward for doing the thing you love the most!
Most programs are run by breed associations or riding clubs, and they’re simple – log your hours in the saddle, reap the rewards. They usually require either the horse, rider, or both, to be registered with the host organization, and incur a small annual joining fee. You can download your required log books or papers from the websites or have them sent to you once you’ve enrolled. Different programs have different rules; some require the horse to be of a certain breed or height, some count driving as hours, some don’t. There are plenty of these programs around, though, so finding one that suits your individual needs shouldn’t be too hard! To give you an idea of what to expect, we’ve highlighted a few for you to get you started.
The Kentucky Appaloosa Owners Association Saddle Log Program rewards its riders based on their division – Open (divided into Junior or Senior horse) or Youth. Riders log their hours in the saddle between January 1st and November 15th of each year.
The Pony Breeders of Ontario Pony Participation Program (PBO PPP) offers a joining incentive – join PBO & enroll in PPP, and receive 10 hours automatically! The rewards they offer start at just 25 hours, and you can log time either riding or driving, as long as the horse involved is a pony. They offer T-shorts, hats, saddle pads, and website coverage as some of their rewards.
Ride America – the program run by the American Paint Horse Association – logs your achievements on your Paint Horses official lifetime performance record, as well as offering patches, achievement certificates, and discounts. They also offer the Ride America ‘Saddle Star’ Award, which goes to the rider in each zone who logs the most hours annually.
The Lake Champlain Appaloosa Club Saddle & Driving Log awards 1st through 6th place in two divisions – 18 & under, and 19 & over. This is one of the few programs that allow any breed of horse or pony to be used, and for both riding and driving to be logged. They offer mugs, chairs, halters, belt buckles, club jackets, a winter blanket with the club logo, and gift certificates.
The International Performance Horse Development Association’s Wet Saddle Pad Incentive Programoffers belt buckles, vests, jackets, and halters as some of their prizes, and awards 1st through 3rd place. A prize is also awarded each month to the rider with the highest point total – the most hours logged.
The American Quarter Horse Association Horseback Riding Programoffers a great combination of divisions – a division purely for Quarter Horses, and one for All Breeds. Prizes start at 50 hours with a Drysdales gift certificate, and increase from there, up to a 5,000-hour Montana Silversmiths buckle.
These programs are great for all riders of any age and experience They offer safe, achievable goals that everyone can relate to and work toward without the expense and heavy culture of regular competition. Best of all, they reward the most basic love of any equestrian – time spent with your horse.
Photo credit: Gayle Lindgren
About the Author
Ellie is an Australian university student studying Public Relations & Organisational Communication. Her horse, Felix, has been stealing her carrot cake for 11 years, & when she’s not pampering him, she can be found eating sushi, vaulting, or trying to plan the unplannable. You can get to know Ellie here.