Grandstand Media has announced the list of qualifiers for the 2022 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), set to be held at the NEC from 5-9 October.
As well as all the usual set of classes, two new finals have been added to the schedule; the ridden Dartmoor pony of the year and the mountain and moorland (M&M) 122cm junior working hunter pony of the year.
Dartmoor ponies get their own standalone final for the first time, having competed against Shetlands and Exmoors in previous years; they will now compete together in their own final.
Throughout the season there will now be some individual qualifying classes for the Dartmoor ponies, as well as the usual mixed qualifying classes for all breeds as in previous years.
“This qualifying season will offer competitors even more opportunities via a greater geographical split of shows than ever before,” said a spokesman for Grandstand Media.
2022 HOYS qualifiers: See the full list
The addition of the M&M 122cm junior working hunter pony class, which will host 10 finalists who have qualified at respective shows held throughout the season, comes from “extensive feedback and a want to encourage the younger generation of riders within the sport of showing”.
This class will be for children who have not attained their 12th birthday in the current year and the course of fences will include only one double and no water tray, with a maximum fence height of 65cm, and a maximum width of 55cm at the final. At qualifiers, the height of the fences will not exceed 60cm.
Eligible ponies for both the open 122cm and the junior 122cm will only be able to compete in one of these categories at the HOYS final. They may enter both categories when competing at qualifying shows but must compete in the class they qualify for first at HOYS.
The Grandstand spokesman added: “Let 2022 be the year of encouragement, support, and appreciation for what we have in this sport. Tell the person next to you in the line-up that they did a nice show, and refrain from posting that comment online that might bring someone down.
“There are so many exciting opportunities for everyone this year, through both the new classes and an increased geographical spread of shows, so let’s all aspire to restore the sport to its full glory after this bump in the road.”
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