The first mass measurement of ponies at international level has been hailed as a success.

A total of 148 ponies were measured at the European Pony Championships in Freudenberg, Germany, last week (17-22 July), with only one pony — from an Italian team — measuring out.

One of the two vets carrying out the measuring was H&H’s Karen Coumbe.

“It was all so straightforward,” she said. “It worked really well and the time factor wasn’t a problem. We started at 8am and finished at 6pm, with time to spare.”

The pony who measured out was disqualified.

Compulsory measuring was introduced by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) after a random selection of ponies was measured at last year’s pony Europeans. More than half the 17 ponies measured proved too tall, some by as much as 10cm (news, 12 October 2006).

An FEI spokesman said the results from Germany prove that on-site measuring works:“We’re very pleased with how it went. There had been so much opposition to measuring beforehand, but it was incredibly uneventful.”

All ponies were measured by two vets — Karen and Tim Watson. When the two gave a different measurement, the lower figure was taken as the definitive height.

Karen explained: “Tim and I measured each one separately and did not look at what the other was doing.”

The FEI spokesman admitted that some competitors complained that not all ponies were wearing shoes of the same thickness.

She said: “We have asked all the national federations to give us feedback. As this is the first time measuring has been done at this level on site, the rules are bound to need a little tweaking — and shoeing may come into this — so we will listen carefully to what the federations say and issue a redraft of the rules, hopefully by November.”

Read this news story in full in the current issue of Horse & Hound (26 July, ’07)