Showing competitors warned action could be taken over excess travelling and overweight ponies

Showing competitors have been warned that action could be taken if ponies are travelled excessively to the detriment of their welfare – and reminded that overweight animals are likely to be penalised.

The National Pony Society (NPS) said in a statement it was “becoming increasingly concerned” that equines are being transported long distances as people chase qualifiers at shows across the country.

“At the moment, this is a warning and a reminder, but something we don’t want to see becoming a trend,” an NPS spokesman told H&H.

“Most people are sensible, and won’t drive to Scotland straight after Hickstead, for example, but one or two do need a reminder.”

The spokesman said the society is “unofficially” aware that some people, mainly those chasing Horse of the Year Show qualifiers, are “travelling ponies long distances, maybe with no rest days in between”.

“We felt we needed to remind people that they need to make sure they’re taking welfare into account,” she added.

“If we had evidence someone was felt to be travelling a pony to the detriment of its welfare, we would look at taking action.”

Any case would be considered on its own merits, but sanctions could include suspension or restricting someone’s ability to compete.

“We’re just one society but the societies are coming together and working with the Showing Council, on a common dope-testing policy and starting to work together to stop people society-hopping, so it’s something we can bring up there too,” the spokesman said.

The NPS also reminded members that overweight ponies are likely to be penalised.

“The society endeavours to communicate to the membership that the health of the ponies is paramount and would strongly recommend that owners exhibit their animals carrying the correct condition,” the statement said.

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The spokesman added that at this year’s NPS summer championships (6 to 8 August) the society and Baileys Horse Feeds will be working together to provide access to a weighbridge and nutritional advice to competitors.

“Some competitors need that education, and from someone who’s not a judge placing them in a class,” she said.

“At every judges’ conference, we drum into them about the weight issue but it still is an issue and we wanted to bring it back into the limelight.”

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