A rule change has made it easier for aspiring jockeys to give pony racing a go.
The Pony Racing Authority (PRA) has relaxed the height certificate requirement for combinations competing in their first season.
First-timers can now take part in the point-to-point pony race series for one season, within their area, without a Joint Measurement Board (JMB) height certificate.
“It is to make it easier for people to have a go at pony racing,” Clarissa Daly of the PRA told H&H.
“We are really trying to make the sport more inclusive for people to come and try.”
Mrs Daly added that combinations will still be subject to the same PRA regulations as all other competitors.
“If their pony is deemed to be in the wrong height category, the PRA will request they have their pony measured before they are allowed to run again,” she said.
Point-to-point pony racing runs until early June, with the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace fixture at Horseheath kicking off the season on 7 February.
Riders are still required to be members of the PRA and must qualify through the normal channels.
This includes either attending a joint PRA/Pony Club training day or a level three training day at the British Racing School or Northern Racing College, or four working Pony Club Rallies or four days hunting with a recognised pack.
The PRA is involved with a number of projects to encourage more children to try the sport.
The organisation runs courses at Appletree Stud in Banbury and St James’ City Farm in Gloucester to give youngsters a chance to learn to race, who otherwise might not have the opportunity.
It is also working with members of Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, London.
For more information, visit: www.ponyracingauthority.co.uk/point-to-point-series/