New hunter trial competition for native ponies

A new cross-country event purely for native breeds will be held in Scotland this September.

The mountain and moorland hunter trials has been organised by the Central Scotland Highland Pony Club (CSHPC) and is open to all registered native breeds in the UK.

The club, which has 60 members and is affiliated to the Highland Pony Society, was founded in 1989 to encourage owners of pure and part-bred Highland ponies to participate in all equestrian activities, in particular within central Scotland.

It believes the event is the only one of its type in the country.

CSHPC vice-chairman Kirsten Berry said: “There may have been an M&M hunter trial in the past, but I’ve been looking for four or five years now to enter my Highland into [a specialist class] but haven’t had any luck.

“It’s going to be a fun event and we want to encourage people with native ponies to try something different and to give cross-country a go.”

There will be 12 classes — one for each of Britain’s native breeds — and a “pick-a-fence, have-a-go” format with the option of missing fences or jumping smaller alternatives and taking penalties.

“We are catering for everything from a Shetland pony to a Welsh section D, so are offering three alternatives at each fence from about a foot to a 2ft 9in maximum,” said Ms Berry.

Chief executive of the National Pony Society Caroline Nokes said: “We are absolutely supportive of the event. I imagine breed societies have similar events for their specific breed, but this is the first for all 12 native breeds we have heard of.”

The hunter trial is on 26 September.

For more information, visit www.cshpc.co.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (9 July, ’09)