The British Show Pony Society (BSPS) hopes its new series of young pony classes will appeal to owners aiming for disciplines beyond showing.
The BSPS is holding classes for four-, five- and six-year-old competition ponies (up to 158cm, with riders of any age), with three qualifiers and a championship for each age group.
The series, which is to be run along the lines of the Burghley Young Event Horse competition, is for potential dressage, showjumping or eventing ponies, and entrants do not have to be BSPS members.
“It’s looking for a different type of animal,” BSPS secretary Karen Toynton Ward told H&H.
“We have novice show pony and show hunter pony classes, but this is more about what they’ll make.”
Ms Ward explained that each pony will go into the ring wearing a disc stating for which discipline it is intended, and that potential dressage, showjumping and eventing rides will be judged together.
“It’s a bit liked mixed mountain and moorland classes,” she said. “The judge will decide whether one will make a better dressage pony than another will make a showjumper, for example. We’ve always judged different breeds together, this is different disciplines.”
Qualifiers will be held at the BSPS winter, midsummer and summer championship shows. Four ponies from each will go forward to the final, which will take place at the summer championship.
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The first prize for each qualifier is £50, for the final £100 and the champion will win £250.
“People can come and have a go without being a BSPS member,” Ms Ward added. “They’ll probably go on to do whichever discipline it is, so they won’t be our target market for ever, but it’s a way of getting some ring experience and doing something different.”