Ponies (UK) is introducing a new nationwide class to encourage the breeding and training of top quality event ponies capable of competing at the highest level.
Qualifiers for the Burghley Event Pony series will be held at 23 shows around Britain, with the best ponies contesting a semi-final at the association’s summer championships, before going on to the final at the prestigious Burghley Horse Trials. A qualifier is also being held in Northern Ireland, with the top ponies gaining direct entry to the Burghley final.
Ponies UK chairman, Davina Whiteman, says: “We are very excited about the new series, as many of our working hunter competitors and ponies have the skills and talent to compete in pony eventing. The series will also give breeders and trainers an opportunity to showcase purpose-bred event ponies.”
The classes, which are open to ponies ridden by riders of any age, are split into three phases: freestyle individual show (20 marks); jumping (100 marks); conformation, type and suitability for eventing (30 marks).
Davina continues: “The freestyle show is the opportunity for riders to demonstrate their pony’s athleticism and ability on the flat.
“The jumping phase follows immediately after the ridden display in a neighbouring ring. The course will include a mixture of coloured and rustic obstacles with 10 jumping efforts in total, each of which is marked individually to enable the judges the flexibility to reward ponies with real potential to progress in the sport of eventing.
“The final phase sees the pony striped and shown in-hand so the judges can examine its conformation and type with the demands of eventing in mind.”
The new series has developed from last year’s “red rosette” pilot, the final of which was held alongside the Winergy Burghley Young Event Horse class. The champion was Mrs A C Newling’s Was Double Dutch, ridden by Isobel Newling, who is also a member of the BE junior regional novice eventing team.
“Our inaugural champion was exactly the type of pony we were hoping to find,” explains Davina. “He was athletic and obviously capable of doing the job. We look forward to finding many more ponies capable to competing at the highest level in the future.”
If the series proves as popular as Ponies (UK) expects, it will develop into a Burghley “Young” Event Pony series, limited to four, five and six year-old ponies only in the future.
For more details about the new series contact Ponies UK (tel: 01487 830278) or visit: www.poniesuk.org