Moves to make Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) mountain and moorland (M&M) classes cheaper have proved a hit.

Previously HOYS entrants had to be members of the British Show Pony Society (BSPS), but now National Pony Society (NPS) and Ponies (UK) members may also qualify.

New Forest producer Shirley Young said: “Joining all the societies is very expensive. This rule change makes showing more accessible.”

The change is part of a raft of amendments to HOYS qualifications.

P(UK) chairman Davina Whiteman welcomed a review of the marking system, with equal marks for conformation and performance.

“It should now be more difficult for a pony with average conformation, who performs well, to score above a pony with outstanding conformation that makes a tiny mistake,” said Mrs Whiteman.

HOYS will also host the NPS supreme M&M pony of the year from 2011, after Olympia announced that the NPS would no longer hold its competition there.

NPS chief executive Peter Durrant said: “We wanted somewhere equally prestigious for our supreme.”

The supreme will consist of the champion and reserve combinations from the ridden M&M pony of the year, the M&M working hunter pony of the year and the mini M&M pony of the year classes.

This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound 25 November ’10