Native riders of Britain: the show pony rider

  • Welcome to Horse & Hound’s tongue-in-cheek guide to the various “native breeds” of riders in Britain

    HEIGHT: Shorter than natural genetics would dictate, due to years of riding with stirrups five holes too short, so that Annalise doesn’t grow out of the pony before it’s won something.

    CONFORMATION: Repeatedly cramming the head into hats of a shape not seen since the Boer War leaves many show pony riders with unusually domed heads. Legs as above. Poor diet can also result in stunted growth (getting up at 4am to drive 150 miles for an 8am class often means forgoing breakfast).

    MARKINGS: Available in a variety of coat colours, but all meticulously co-ordinated with browbands, buttonholes, hair ribbons, waistcoats, and, doubtless, mother’s knickers.

    TEMPERAMENT: Patient. Years of surviving vast pony line- ups with surreptitious backgammon games on Sooty’s quarter-marks have left Annalise with the temperament of a Trappist monk in a library. Usefully, the breed is impervious to insects, having endured many summers with a floral bouquet under its chin and a swarm of wasps under each ear.

    HABITAT: Anywhere a judge can be found who is either too blind to notice Sooty’s splints or too arthritic to bend down and feel them.

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