The National Pony Society is going to be actively promoting the quality and versatility of the British show and hunter pony during 2004 — the NPS “Year of the Riding Pony”.
Numbers in riding pony classes, including show ponies and hunter ponies alike, have experienced a down turn in recent years, while mountain and moorland classes have gone from strength to strength. The NPS is hoping that by reminding potential pony purchasers and riders of the outstanding attributes of the British Riding Pony, they will become as popular as their native cousins, with whom many share ancient bloodlines.
“The stud book for the British Riding Pony looks healthy with good levels of quality ponies being bred and registered every year,” explains Caroline Nelson of the NPS. “However, in general breeders get very little recognition of the top quality product they are producing and numbers in some classes are disappointing.
“Contrary to popular belief, the British Riding Pony is not only suitable for trotting round the show ring. The breed is extremely versatile and suitable for a wide range of spheres from hunting and jumping to dressage and eventing at the highest level.
“British equestrian enthusiasts should be very proud of the British Riding Pony as it is a breed worth supporting, owning and competing, whatever your chosen discipline.”
New classes for riding ponies and native ponies are being introduced by the NPS for the 2004 season, with championships being held at the society’s prestigious summer show at Malvern, Worcs on 3-5 August. The new classes include:
- NPS/H-10 Elegance Novice Riding Pony National Championship
- NPS/Romanno Stud British Riding Pony In Hand Championship
- NPS/www.horsequest.co.uk Novice Show Hunter Pony National Championship
- NPS/Strutt & Parker Hunter Pony Breeding Silver Medal Championship
- NPS/Welle Manor Novice M&M Lead Rein & First Ridden National Championship
- NPS/Greenlinks Stud Junior M&M WHP National Championship
- NPS/Soigne Equestrian Ltd Home Produced M&M In-Hand Championship
NPS competition chairman, Jackie Web says: “The new classes have been introduced following feedback from exhibitors. The new novice classes for riding ponies, show hunter ponies and lead rein and first ridden mountain and moorland ponies will give exhibitors with young or inexperienced ponies a stepping stone from unaffiliated shows to open classes.
“We are also very excited about the junior mountain and moorland working hunter pony classes, which will give young riders a chance to compete against riders of their own age over fences which are smaller than open classes. This new working section has been introduced followed the hugely successful mountain and moorland rocking horse working classes for youngest children which began last year.”
To find out more about the NPS visit www.nationalponysociety.org.uk