A Guide to Showing the Mountain and Moorland pony.
In most show schedules and breed society rules you will meet the phrase “must be shown in natural state”. This statement is not to be taken too literally; below is a picture of a native pony in its natural state. As you can see from the next picture, a certain degree of ‘tidying up’ is acceptable.
Here you can see the before and after, with countless hours preparation in between.
Trimming and turnout
This can vary from breed to breed; the overall impression that should be aimed for is natural, traditional and simple. Presenting yourself and your pony correctly in the show ring is important, overall presentation will be taken into account. Being correctly attired need not break the bank; if you are subject to a tight budget you can pick up good quality second hand items in tack shops, online auctions and numerous other places. The motto “always better to buy good quality second hand than cheap new” often applies.
Ponies may only be clipped and trimmed in accordance with breed society rules, see Breed Info pages for specific details. Ponies will not
be marked down for freezemarks. Bridle should be plain leather and
without colored browband. A Pelham or double bridle is suitable for open
classes; a snaffle bridle should be worn in novice, first ridden, and lead rein
The most popular choice of saddle for showing is a straight cut show or Working Hunter saddle,
the straight cut of the saddle does not cover up the pony’s shoulder. If you use
a numnah it must be discreet and match the colour of your saddle. Girth
should also be plain leather or webbing.
Note that Quarter Markers are incorrect for
native pony showing.
A tweed jacket must be worn for ridden showing; black or navy blue jackets are incorrect, except for formal evening performances. Jodphurs or breeches should be beige, canary, cream or corn coloured. Adults should wear long boots, Long boots can be straight or dressage cut. Straight cut long boots should be worn with garter straps. Note that an adult may wear jodphur boots if they are riding a small breed or a smaller large breed. Juniors (under 16) should wear jodphur boots with jodhpurs secured by clips or elastic. Hat should be velvet coverd and conform to current safety standards. Shirt should have a good collar that does not buckle once the tie is done up. Shirt and tie can be plain, spotted or striped, so long as they are discreet. Stocks are incorrect. A tie pin is optional. Waistcoat is optional, if worn it should compliment the colour of shirt and tie. Gloves should be plain brown. Show canes are most popular, a plain whip may also be carried. Spurs are not permissible. Ladies hair should be neat and tidy, in a net, ponytail or bun. Ribbons and bows should be kept to a minimum. Younger girls can wear pigtails, pony tail or plaits. Ribbons and bows may be worn but should be discreet.
During the ridden class, ponies will be required to walk, trot and canter together on both reins. Sometimes, you may be asked to gallop along one side of the ring, this is usually only required in championships. Novices are not asked to gallop as the group go round. Ponies are then called into line up in the middle of the ring. They will be called in by provisional placings or you may be asked to line up in any order. For the individual show you should walk, trot and canter on both reins and include a figure of eight. You should also gallop at the end of your show. Try to incorporate all of this whilst keeping your show short and brief. A judge may have a long day ahead of them, they do not want to see lengthy individual shows . Sitting trot is not required in the individual show. A rein back is optional, at affiliated level may be requested by the judge. At certain shows, especially larger ones, the judge may ask each competitor to do a set show. At affiliated level, the judge may also ask ponies to unsaddle and run up inhand after the individual shows have been completed.
First ridden classes
The format for a first ridden class is similar to the open ridden class, with the exception that ponies are not be reqired to canter on the group go-round, only in the individual show. A gallop is not required in the individual show, and ponies should trot the lap of honour.
A plain snaffle bridle should be worn.
Lead rein classes
Ponies must be led in lead rein classes by an adult, known as the attendant. A plain snaffle bridle should be worn with the lead rein attatched to the back of the nose band. The attendant should hold the lead rein loosely in their left hand, to show the ponies ability to be controlled by young rider.
The attendant should dress to compliment the riders attire. Lady attendants should wear a plain smart outfit with hat. Men should wear a smart tweed suit or tweed jacket with plain trousers.
Hat may be trilby, flat cap or panama in the summer. The attendant should carry the show cane as opposed to the rider. The rider should be turned out as described above for ridden classes.
Ponies will only be required to walk and trot. Ponies will first all walk round together, the steward will then ask all ponies to halt and each pony will take turn to trot round the ring to the back of the line. Then all ponies will walk round together to be called in for initial placings, or in any order.
During the individual show ponies should walk away from the judge then turn a figure of eight.
The rider thould bow to the judge on completion of the show.
Working Hunter classes
There are two phases to a working hunter class. The first phase is the jumping round. Each pony will be required to jump a series of rustic jumps. You should aim to complete the course at a good controlled canter, to show the kind of ride likely to be given on the hunting field. Tack and turnout is the same as the open ridden class, with the exception that martingales, brushing boots and body protectors can be worn in the jumping phase. Crash helmets with plain velvet cover are also popular. The second phase is the showing phase (body protectors and brushing boots can be removed for the showing phase). Usually only the 'clear rounds' will be asked to return into the ring; if there are low entry numbers, or few clear rounds, all competitors will be asked to return for the showing phase. The showing phase will be conducted in the same manner as the open ridden class.
Final places will be awarded on a combination of marks from both jumping and showing phases.
Correct types of bridle or halter for each breed can vary, dependent on the type of show, age or sex of the pony. Some breed society shows specify that certain types of tack is required. As a general rule, all large breeds and welsh section A can wear a white halter. Youngstock can also wear a leather slip or bitless inhand bridle. Stallions over 2 should not be shown in a white halter and should be properly bitted. All ponies over two years old can wear an inhand bridle. It is acceptable for a pony that also does ridden classes to be shown in a riding bridle.
It is accepted conduct to wear trousers for inhand showing rather than jodhpurs (except for juniors). The colour of your trousers should be the opposite colour of your pony’s legs; for example, if your pony has dark coloured legs, wear light coloured trousers and vice versa.
This allows the judge to clearly see your pony’s movement without distraction. You should wear a shirt and tie and tweed jacket; a waistcoat is optional. Hair must be neat and tidy as described in the ridden turnout section.
A hat should be worn that compliments your outfit; it is advisable to wear a hard hat when showing ‘enthusiastic’ youngsters, purely for safety reasons! Juniors should always wear a hard hat.
Those are the general guidelines for inhand showing, however, turnout can vary somewhat depending on breed and region. For showing welsh ponies it is not uncommon to see handlers without a hat and jacket; apparently due to the speed at which they have to run when trotting them up! For showing Scottish breeds it is quite common to see men turned out in traditional kilt with sporran, hoes (socks) and brogues. Women may wear a tartan kilted skirt with smart blouse.
No plaiting is permitted in any Native pony class; the only exception being specific types of plaits on Dales and welsh ponies. Dales ponies always wear the traditional plait at the top of the tail with ribbons.
Until 1948 Dales ponies were usually docked, with enough hair left to protect the pony in severe weather. This was tied up with ribbons for shows (this is still optional).
Welsh ponies (except section B) can have one single plait at the top of the mane behind the ear, in order to show off the jawline.
Part bred Classes
For part bred native showing classes, ponies should be turned out and shown in accordance to their type. If your pony is of riding pony type, turn out as a riding pony. e.g navy jacket, coloured brow band etc.
Always read the schedule carefully before entering classes;
some schedules may have specific rules on bits, bridles or whips. If you are entering an affiliated class make sure you read the relevant society rules.
Note: Shows, classes and event related abbreviations:
FP - Family Pony
FR - First Ridden
HP - Hunter Pony
HOYS - Horse of the Year Show
LR - Leading Rein
M&M - Mountain and moorland
PC - Pony club
RPB - Riding Pony Breeding
SHP - Show Hunter Pony
WHP - Working Hunter Pony