The Welsh Pony and Cob Performance Scheme (WPCS) is a brilliant initiative, rewarding performance across a vast range of ridden and driven activities including shows and events.
It is minimal cost to take part, due to the generosity of sponsors. The owner/rider/driver doesn’t even have to belong to the WPCS because as long as the horse or pony is registered with the WPCS it is eligible. I have a performance card for Crossfield Glory and another for Alfie costing just £12 each, non members pay £18.
This is a scheme where the smallest Welsh section A can achieve on a par with a big section D, where a 9-year-old child can compete on level terms with an experienced adult. Truly there is something for everyone!
Every conceivable performance-based event is listed with a clearly set out allocation of marks that the horse gains for being placed from 1st to 6th. Affiliated events are worth more than unaffiliated with the 2- or 3-day affiliated events gaining the highest points.
So if your horse competes at a national driving trial (national, regional or novice qualifier) you can gain 500 points for winning the class and points are generous, with 400 awarded even for 6th place. Riders at British Eventing or British Riding Club 2- or 3-day events have same allocation. A win at a 2-day club event gains 200 points and 100 for 6th.
Working hunter, hunter trials, showjumping, dressage and endurance riding gain good points for horses under saddle and driven dressage, indoor driving trials and arena challenge, scurry or scurry and trials are well rewarded for harness horses. Ridden and driven TREC also gain points and they are given for taking part in Pony Club, Brtish Driving Society (BDS) or British Young Drivers camps and rallies.
In the show ring ride and drive ponies and horses are well rewarded for their versatility with 110 points for an overall 1st, compared to 70 points for a BDS driven or affiliated ridden showing class. In-hand classes are not eligible nor classes like best turned out, concours d’elegance or classes focused on the ability of the whip (driver). This is because the scheme is focused on a fair reward for performance by the horse or pony.
Bonus points are gained by qualifying for championships and for showing versatility, with extra points for the additional categories where points are achieved, for example competing in a variety of ridden and driven activities (the pictures show my Crossfield Glory taking part in a range of activities, proving 1 pony really can do it all).
The scheme is now well underway for 2014 as it runs from the 22 February to 28 September, but forms can be filled in retrospectively so do consider sending off and taking part. WPCS rosettes are awarded for all the categories at an awards ceremony at The Thistle Hotel, Cheltenham on Sunday 30 November. Bursaries are also awarded to promising young drivers or riders who are members of the WPCS at the end of the season.
So many Welsh ponies compete in driving events and excel as well as in all the riding activities — the scheme is designed to give your pony credit for its performance and I would urge you to take part as a lovely way of registering your horse’s achievement.