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Expert advice from HORSE magazine on what tack to use when showing a native pony

Q. I would like to show my four-year-old Connemara mare in ridden mountain and moorland classes but I am confused about what tack is correct. I have bought a brown leather general purpose saddle, which I hope I can use. Also can I use a snaffle bit as she isn’t really ready for a double bridle?

A. If your pony is being shown innovice classes use a simple snaffle bit that she goes well in. It is acceptable to wear a snaffle in open classes, but most riders opt for a pelham or double bridle to give a more finished look and to provide the rider with greater finesse.

Don’tbe tempted to use a pelham or double just to bring your pony’s head in. Ensure she is working happily in the snaffle and her outline will gradually improve. Once she is established in her way of going you can try her in a curb bit.

You should choose a good quality leather bridle to compliment your pony’s head. Connemaras look best in medium-weight bridles with a plain or slightly padded cavesson noseband and plain, not coloured, browband. Reins should be plain or laced leather.

Your GP saddle should be fine, as long as it doesn’t cover your pony’s shoulder. If you intend to do a lot of showing you may wish to purchase a saddle which is straighter cut.

A brown leather girth always looks smart, although a white girth will look better on a white grey. If you need to use a numnah, it should be the same colour as your saddle and as unobtrusive as possible.

If this is your first venture into mountain and moorland showing, go and watch some classes at top level. This will show you how the top competitiors present their ponies for the ring and you may be able to pick up some ticks of the trade.

Click here to purchase “The Connemara Pony” by Anne Rolinson from Amazon Online.

Click here to purchase “Showing Native Ponies” by Jenny Morgan from Amazon Online.

See the latest issue of HORSE magazine for more Q&As, or click here to subscribe online at a reduced rate.