A new championship is being introduced at the 2010 Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead to ease young riders into the world of adult showing.

The Ponies Association (UK) Young Riders’ Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship will take place on Wednesday 28 July 2010 as part of the six-day show (27 July-1 August).

Ponies UK chairman Davina Whiteman said: “Until now, riders as young as 13 have had to move into classes where they compete against experienced older riders.

“We have campaigned, some would say robustly, for M&M first ridden riders to have a transitional step before they move into the adult world of showing.

“Hickstead has been able to give us that opportunity.”

The championship will be divided into three sections — small breeds, with riders not to have reached their 14th birthday, large breeds for riders aged up to 18 and intermediate, for riders up to age 25.

Hickstead director and show secretary, Lizzie Bunn, said: “Showing is an important and popular part of the Longines Royal International Horse Show and encouraging and supporting young riders has always been a crucial element in the Hickstead philosophy.

“We are only too pleased to be able to introduce a new championship to help younger riders find their way in the sport.”

Qualifying classes for the new championship will be held at 20 shows nationwide, beginning with the Ponies (UK) Winter Championships (27-28 March) at South View Equestrian Centre in Winsford, Cheshire.