Royal Windsor Horse Show introduces rider rules for mini ponies

The Royal Windsor Horse Show has introduced a new rule that prevents “anyone over the age of 16” riding ponies that measure 122cm or under during working in and exercising at the 2019 show.

Rule number 34 states: “no persons over the age of 16 may ride a pony of 122cm or under anywhere on the show ground, or in the horsebox park that will compete in the following mini pony classes: 141, child’s first ridden pony; 142, child’s leading rein pony; 143, BSPS M&M ridden open leading rein; 144, BSPS M&M ridden open first ridden; 172, lead rein pony of show hunter type.”

It also states that if a competitor is found doing so “the person will be asked to dismount and the pony may be disqualified from competing”.

Royal Windsor originally set a height limit of 128cm, but has since revised the rule to reduce it to 122cm. It was also forced to clarify which classes it applied to due to competitor confusion.

The committee of Royal Windsor Horse Show said they decided to impose this rule after a number of incidents at last year’s event when leading rein and first ridden ponies were ridden in at length by adults.

They added: “it was felt the show could be open to accusation of poor horse welfare standards.  It was the committee’s decision to use age as a deciding factor [for riders] rather than weight to avoid disputes. For clarification this is limited to [ponies up to] 122cms, does not include 128cms [ponies] and applies to mini pony classes.”

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The annual show, which is held from 8-12 May, is the second major show to introduce such a rule. For the past two years, officials from the Great Yorkshire have asked competitors they deemed ‘too heavy’ to dismount their ponies during the warm up.

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