You wouldn’t buy a pony without trying it so why don’t show pony classes have a ride judge? And are intermediate classes — set up to give those who have grown out of ponies a “stepping stone” into adult classes — doing their job?

In this Thuesday’s 17-page showing special (on sale tomorrow, 17 March), Horse & Hound’s experts answer these two pertinent questions. Our writers ask judges, competitors and producers for their opinions.

“A horse can look fabulous, but if it doesn’t give a good ride, it’s no good at all,” points out Charles le Moignan. Do you agree? Or are you of the opinion that, as Gill Thompson says: “A knowledgeable judge can tell from the ground how a pony is going”?

Don’t miss this topical debate!

Meanwhile, who are the next generation of show producers? Did they, by any chance, emerge from the intermediate classes? We talk to Adam Winbourne, who has already taken championships at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), sisters Kirsty and Alex Ahern, who are based at their parents’ riding school in Yorkshire, and 18-year-old Jasean Spraggett, who is rapidly making a name for herself despite her tender years, and find out how they got into showing, what have they learnt and what their plans are for 2011.

We are also looking at the next must-have stallions for the next generation of showring stars. As the careers of such stalwarts as Kilvington Scoundrel and Strinesdale Matador are on the wane — and the much-missed Lechlade Quince is no more — who are the next crop of sires are coming to the fore? Would they suit YOUR mare?

Our showing special also includes products to give you that extra showring sparkle, as well as a full report from the Ponies (UK) Winter Championships and expert comment from leading producer Katie Jerram.

On sale 17 March. Don’t miss it!