Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) is to expand its junior mountain and moorland (M&M) ridden championship by adding a large breeds section for 2017.

The show introduced a popular junior M&M small breed title in 2016, in a bid to help young riders come up through the ranks.

At the time, a spokesman for the show’s organiser Grandstand Media said following reviews of the 2014 and 2015 finals, it was apparent that “many of the small breed M&M classes are dominated by senior adult competitors, which is potentially stifling young riders from progressing.”

Following feedback this year, the show has now expanded the section to also recognise junior riders competing on New Forests, Connemaras, Fells, Dales, Highlands, Welsh Section Cs and Welsh Section Ds.

The class will be open to riders aged 10-18 with qualifiers for the final running alongside the junior small breed qualifiers throughout the showing season.

The move will allow more junior riders to compete, as the age limit for the small breed section is capped at 14.

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“We are delighted to be able to extend our junior M&M ridden championship to incorporate these large breeds at HOYS 2017 in order to give more young riders the opportunity to compete,” a Grandstand spokesman said.

“The junior M&M small breed championship was very well received and we have listened and responded to the feedback in order to deliver this large breed section.

“It will be fascinating to see the junior M&M ridden championship evolve throughout the season and I wish all of our junior riders the best of luck in qualifying.”

The inaugural junior M&M large breed final will take place in HOYS’ TopSpec Arena at the Birmingham NEC championships, which run 4-8 October, 2017.