British Dressage is introducing a new series of young pony classes alongside its popular Shearwater Young Horse Championships for 2016. There will be classes for 4, 5 and 6 year old ponies (not exceeding 149cm), which can be ridden by children aged 12 or above or adults, culminating in the Young Pony Championships at the Hartpury Festival of Dressage, 6 – 10 July 2016.
There will be five young pony qualifiers taking place mainly at BD Premier League shows in May and June, where two riders at a time will show their ponies, riding a set pattern which will be commanded. The specialist judges will be looking at the pony’s paces, way of going and general impression for a final mark.
The top two ponies from each qualifier will win a place at the Championship final at Hartpury with a change in the format as they will ride the relevant BD Young Horse test.
Talking about the new classes BD Director of Training, Paul Hayler said; “The Young Horse Championships are a very important opportunity for riders to develop their young horses and to recognise future dressage stars. We were very keen that pony riders, breeders and producers have the same opportunity.
“The format and marking of the classes is designed to recognise potential and they are a great way to introduce youngsters to the competition environment. Horses like Valegro have been former Young Horse Champions so it would be great to see a pony spotted through the new championship on a British team in the future,” he added.
Young Pony Qualifiers
Addington Manor EC, Bucks – 6 May
Somerford Park, Cheshire – 28 May
Wellington Riding, Hants – 9 Jun
Rockrose, Scotland – 11 Jun
Sheepgate EC, Lincs – 19 Jun
Riders need to be members of BD, but ponies can enter qualifiers without being registered with BD. The full rules relating to the classes are in the 2016 BD Members Handbook.