TAGS:

Plans to reunite the Ponies (UK) Northern and Southern Winter Championships have divided opinion in the showing world.

For four years, two winter championship shows have been held, one in the north of England — for the past two years at Southview EC, Cheshire — and one in the south, at Towerlands EC, Essex.

But next year the shows will be amalgamated and one final held at Addington Manor EC, in Buckinghamshire (4-6 March).

P(UK) chairman Davina Whiteman said: “In 2006, the price of diesel was a big issue, so we split the championships.

“Towerlands was a long way for our northern competitors and there was no big central venue available.”

But she said news that Towerlands was cutting back its equestrian activities had forced the committee to rethink.

“People felt two events diluted the kudos of the competition,” she added.

Producer Julie Templeton approves. “There are so many championships that to win them means a lot less,” she said.

But showing professional Lynn Russell, who is based in Surrey, said: “Not everyone wants to travel halfway across the country. I imagine fewer people will bother to go.”

Mrs Whiteman added that P(UK) did not expect all 700 horses that currently compete to travel to Buckinghamshire.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (30 September, ’10)