The National Pony Society (NPS) has been praised for reiterating the “choose, don’t chase” ethos to its members mid-way through the 2022 show season.
In previous years, the NPS released a statement on social media encouraging competitors to choose their qualifying circuit carefully with their animals’ welfare as the paramount concern, to ensure ponies were not travelling the length and breadth of the country in pursuit of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) tickets.
The society released a similar statement on 4 July, encouraging members to once again “take into account the stress and wear and tear on limbs when too regularly travelling their ponies to shows. Most importantly the younger ones and especially in the high temperatures we have experienced recently.”
The statement comes after one of the busiest periods in the showing calendar, when many HOYS qualifiers are held back to back.
The NPS statement said: “It has been observed that there have been instances of the same ponies being shown at opposite ends of the country within a short time frame and we sincerely ask that our members and others consider this as a welfare issue. The message ‘choose, don’t chase’ still applies.”
Sacha Shaw from the NPS added: “It has been noticed by council members and NPS judges that some ponies are definitely spending lengthy periods travelling within a short space of time. Not only does it have a detrimental effect on young animals’ limbs, but the strain of retaining balance for hours in a moving vehicle is exhausting and can cause muscle problems in any equine.
“We will monitor this as best we can and take action where we are able to. In the meantime we just need to remind members to be aware of the welfare of their ponies.”
Competitors praised the NPS on social media.
“What a fabulous society Well done for pointing out this huge issue,” said one. Another commented: “Totally agree it’s not fair on any pony.”
Other competitors asked if it was time for a rule to be introduced by governing societies to stop ponies being shown in consecutive qualifiers.
You may also be interested in…
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.