Sarah Parker: how to make your native show ring ready

Are you confident that you’re turning out your native pony correctly for the show ring?

With mountain and moorland breeds due to take centre stage at Olympia next month (13-19 December), prolific natives producer Sarah Parker — who piloted Welsh section A stallion Sarum Rembrandt to supreme pony honours at Horse of the Year Show in 2015 — kicks off a new series into being ring ready.

This time Hardendale Ray, a six-year-old Fell stallion is in the spotlight. Watch the video below.

1. Tidy headwear

“Ray wears a double bridle for showing. Bits should be very neat in the mouth and I don’t like to see a pony wearing too much tack,” says Sarah. “Ray does have to have a reasonably thick bridle because he has a chunky head, so he needs a thicker noseband and cheek pieces.

“He also has a plaited browband, because I think it makes him look neater — but that’s down to each rider’s personal preference.”

2. Smart stallion badges

Societies expect stallions to be easily identified by having a badge on their bridle — it’s the rules.

“We have ours made because they look neater than the traditional plastic ones,” says Sarah.

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3. The right reins

Due to his double bridle, Sarah rides Ray in two reins.

“Rein-wise he has a plaited rein on top and a plain rein on the bottom,” she explains.

4. Keep feathers in good shape

“Being a Fell pony, I have to really look after Ray’s feathers, especially with the surfaces that he works on at home,” explains Sarah. “We have a rubber surface and a sand surface so I have to be careful that Ray’s feathers don’t burn away.

“I put pig oil on them every other day to maintain them and stop them breaking away.”

Don’t miss H&H’s live coverage of the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship on Monday 19 December, starting at 9.30am, and the full showing report in the 22 December issue of Horse & Hound.