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A new style of judging will raise showing to a new level, says Ponies UK P(UK). Davina Whiteman, Chairman of P(UK) demonstrated the new format when judging the performance sections of the HOYS Qualifiers for Show Ponies & Show Hunter Ponies at the P(UK) South Show. She lined up the competitors in order of merit and at the conclusion of each individual show, she announced the mark over the public address system, and gave a short appraisal.

“Judging is a subjective thing – it is very individual and the new style gives the ringside the opportunity to see a judge’s priorities.”

According to Whiteman the amended format, which will be in place at the P(UK) Summer Championships, encourages better riding; “Those at the top of the line have to ride for their lives in order to hold their places.”

Carol Gilbert-Scott, who trains home-produced horses and their riders, believes the new style is an “excellent idea”. “It gives competitors at the end of the line-up a chance to get out and do their show immediately and applies pressure to those further up the order,” she explains. But Gilbert-Scott is sure that some judges will be opposed to the idea, “They won’t like it because now they have to know what they’re looking for.”

Whiteman agrees, “It puts an extra pressure on the judge to think very seriously about what they are doing.”

But the new system is designed to improve the standard of showmanship and provide competitors with a good grounding for other equestrian disciplines. “It is the result of a review we have been doing over the last three years,” Whiteman explained, “The previous mark system was not achieving the results we’d hoped for and new competitors were confused.”

“The whole idea of showing is to teach children to be all round competitors – the new system is better for ponies and better for children and more fun for the public to watch,” Gilbert-Scott affirmed.

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