A £1,000 prize next year awaits the winner of the first supreme ridden mountain and moorland championship at Olympia to be run under the British Show Pony Society (BSPS), an increase from £150 this year.
The reserve champion at the 2011 final — sponsored by New Forest pony breeder Alex Hawkins and her family — will receive £500, third £200 and fourth to 10th place, £100 each.
The breeder of the champion pony will receive £100 and there will be an award of £50 to the best of each breed.
“We wanted to reward the breeders, too,” explained Paul Cook, BSPS council member. “Breed type is critical and we mustn’t lose it.”
The qualifying system is also changing.
“Previously, the only way to qualify was to win the championship show or at your breed show. Ponies went through to Olympia based on the opinion of just one person,” explained Mr Cook.
Qualifiers will now be judged by two judges, on a 50:50 basis — half the marks for manners and performance [to the breed type] and half for conformation and breed type.
In the event of a tie, the conformation and breed type mark will take precedence.
Four more ponies will get the chance to qualify — 40 instead of 36. And there will be no levy fee on entries. Finalists will pay a £50 entry and stabling fee.
Four judges will assess the Olympia classes, instead of two, and the BSPS is keen for National Pony Society judges to come on board.
Read full story, including details of how to qualify for the 2011 final, in the current issue of Horse & Hound (23 December, 2010)