‘This has to stop’: showing judge speaks up after pony lunged for ‘three hours’

  • A showing judge who saw a small pony at an event being lunged for some three hours says such “utterly disgusting” sights make her wonder what else is going on at home.

    The judge, whom we have chosen not to name, was officiating at a recent affiliated show. She has decades of experience at shows across the country and up to the top level.

    She told H&H she caught sight of the pony being lunged while she was in her first class, which started at 11am. It was still being “chased around in canter” on the circle at 2.45pm.

    “I have major concerns if this happens at a show, what an earth happens at home,” she said.

    “I did mention to an official that I thought the pony had had enough, but after a few more classes it was still being lunged. It had been moved, maybe to where they thought no one else could see, and it wasn’t going up and down in gaits, it was constantly cantering. The ground wasn’t flat either, so the stress and strain on its joints must have been dreadful.”

    The judge said she thought the pony was given an “unhealthy and unnecessary” amount of work.

    “But no one stepped in to address the issue,” she said. “I think it was disgusting.”

    The judge says she frequently sees similar issues; adults who are too big for ponies working them in, “for hours and hours” before a class.

    “If this is what happens in public, god knows what goes on at home; this has to stop,” she said.

    “I think the societies need to come together and tell people they can’t do things like this, and that they’ll police how much work ponies get and who rides the poor things.”

    The judge spoke out to raise awareness, but wanted to stay anonymous so she can keep watching for any bad practice.

    “The horse can’t say ‘Please don’t do that’ and if they say no, things get worse,” she said.

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