What makes a winning show hunter pony? Top judges explain… *H&H Plus

Enjoy Horse & Hound’s comprehensive guide to help you spot the perfect show hunter pony and turn it out correctly, with top tips from expert judges on what they will – and won’t – accept...

One of the most popular children’s plaited showing sections is that for show hunter ponies (SHP), which gained their own specific category within the main governing organisation, the British Show Pony Society (BSPS), in 1983. Until then, children’s plaited classes had been for “riding ponies” — now show ponies — but after the “split”, two distinct types have emerged.

Whereas the modern show pony is elegant and refined, the SHP is sturdier, more workmanlike, should have more bone and must gallop. Many “family” ponies — often those with a dash of native blood — fit into this category well.

What do the judges look for?

Type is everything in SHP ranks and judge Jackie Beatham is a renowned stickler for it. “Put quite simply, the show hunter pony should resemble a scaled-down middleweight hunter,” she says. “It must definitely not be a 13hh or 14hh show pony covered in fat with a false topline.

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