2015 has kicked off for me now with two judges conferences and two shows.
The judges conferences are always interesting and both I attended were very well ran. I saw more young judges at the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) than the British Show Horse Society (BSHA) conference. I wonder if it’s time that every new judge should attend more regularly? Perhaps for the first three years on the panel?
Lots of interesting topics were thrashed out at the BSHA conference, while the BSPS conference featured an excellent lesson in conformation and soundness delivered superbly by Jane Nixon. Surely she is an asset for any society to have onboard.
The marks system was once again discussed in depth, with the feeling that we are losing dialogue between judges to marks on paper. We are resigned that this system is here to stay and will possibly even creep sadly into horse classes, but it is not really very popular.
I am one of the few who likes a winter show. Alice and I have been to two now with several different ponies.
In my mind there are two reasons to go. The first is taking the more established ponies to get their winter championship qualifications, and obviously some new combinations like the time to bond together in a more relaxed show atmosphere.
We have had a bit of success with the working hunter ponies so off to winter championships we will go! Alice has stolen her brother’s 153cm pony that he hunts, spotting it would make a working pony for her.
Despite looking very tiny on him, she pulled off a novice working hunter pony championship at the BSPS Area 9B winter show at Badgeworth on Sunday (pictured, top). Then when she got home she presented the rosettes to a delighted owner, my son Harry.
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The second reason to head out to winter shows is for very novice ponies, who are perhaps even experiencing their first time on a showground. I love to get the babies out and see what future stars we may have.
They can surprise and delight as well as disappoint. You never quite know what you will get. The best is to see them come on from their very first outing in leaps and bounds at their next show. Such a great reward.
We had this happen with two show hunter ponies at Badgeworth and I was delighted.
This half term will see lots of BSPS area clinics for children on young ponies. I urge you all you find at least one to go to.
We are lucky to have knowledgeable instructors give their time, so get your young ponies or new combinations along for some top tips.
We are actually nipping off on holiday this half term so will be playing catch up when we get back. Hopefully with a suntan though!