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Children's show pony help

9 replies

Ohwhatbliss · 03/09/2014 21:32

Hoping someone here is knowledgable about children's show ponies as I'm trying to help my sis in law find a pony for her DD.DD is 8 years old and is looking for a shp to hopefully do affiliated showing. They wanted a 12.2 but I have found the perfect (on paper) pony who is 13hh. I know BSPS etc classes go by height, would an 8 year old be able to show a 13hh or would this cause any issues? Thanks for reading

OP posts:
marialuisa · 04/09/2014 08:08

TBH it would depend on your Dniece. Most 8 year olds would be doing 12hh and many are in lead rein classes. Not sure what level she wants to show at but the HOYS classes are tough. DD stepped up to RI/HOYS classes this year and they need confidence and ringcraft. Dealing with 20+ ponies cantering on a go round, often a smallish space with riders trying to cover you, block you etc. is quite something. DD was lucky enough to qualify for both RI and HOYS but she's really had to work to get there.

If they want to do SHP they really are better off going for something that's up to height. By the time they've been fed up and worked most of the ponies look rather bigger than it says on their passports. We know of a pony that was very successful in 12hh classes but measured out and has just not had the same success in 13hh classes (at 12.2hh) because he just looks wrong in comparison to the full up ponies.

frostyfingers · 04/09/2014 09:09

You need Butkin - an expert on all things showing.... Although ML sounds pretty expert to me too!

BaldricksWife · 04/09/2014 10:21

ML has hit the spot. Each height division has it's subtle 'type' which is generally why it is hard to be successful with a pony that has just measured out. Depending on your DN confidence, ability and tallness (is that a word?) there are other options- M&M FR even!

My friend and I spent many hours in between our classes at the side of the LR rings at the recent BSPS Champs- a small pony is next on our shopping list and it pays to do some homework. There were some we deffo will not be interested in!

Ohwhatbliss · 04/09/2014 15:01

Thank you so much for your replies, much appreciated. I have managed to talk some sense into sis in law that her quite novice (although v confident) 8 year old should stick to local level stuff and having fun for the next couple of years. Found a couple of nice 12.2 ponies that are up to (and have competed at) county level shows for her to consider. She needs a 12.2 really as she is v tall and they're hoping pony will be good for at least 2/3 years. Thanks again!

OP posts:
BaldricksWife · 04/09/2014 16:47

Ohwhatbliss- you are welcome to message me the names in case I know anything about them.

Butkin · 05/09/2014 11:47

Hi Ohwhatbliss and great that you have family getting into showing!

ML knows her stuff and she's correct in what she says.

For background our DD started off showing when she was 3 or 4 and is very keen. However even as an 8yo she was still showing on the lead rein on her hunter (despite being well off at home) because it was the best class for her. At the same time she was doing Tiny Tots First Riddens and some open First Riddens on her Section B who is/was a schoolmaster.

She decided she wanted to do plaited classes so we bought her a decent class (been to HOYS) 12.2 Show Pony at the backend of 2012 (when she was 9). It took her a fair while to get to grips with doing Open Classes (despite being very experienced) and she didn't qualify for RI in 2013. However they both started to gell and she qualified for HOYs last year.

This year she's done really well without actually winning any classes! (it's so tough on the County circuit). She was 2nd/3rd at lots of decent shows
inc Winter Champs etc and qualified for RI. Amazingly she finished 5th there which is a huge achievement as it is the top outdoor show of the year. She didn't qualify for HOYS though (we didn't show her much in those qualifiers) although we missed out by only 1 point when 3rd at NPS Champs. We're planning to keep the 12.2 until after Royal Windsor next year and then sell her on...

Our new pony is a 4yo 13 hand show hunter pony. We had him broken in this Spring and we've taken our time with him. The trouble with SHPs is that they can be late maturing both mentally and especially physically. We've taken him to a couple of shows this late Summer including the BSPS Summer champs and will take him to two more little ones this Autumn for experience. We think he could be a real HOYS contender going forward. We plan for DD (who is now 11.5 years) to ride him in novices and opens next year and probably stay on him for 2016 season as well. This will really depend on how much she grows.

Some things to consider:

  1. Actual birthdates for children are important in showing because all classes depend on ages on Jan 1st. Check the BSPS / PUK rules for clarification.

  1. For an 8yo I would suggest she should be looking at a Show Pony up to 12 hands to do First Ridden Show Ponies on or a Show Hunter Pony up to 12 hands to do their SHP of first type and then 12 Open SHP.

  1. The next step up for a Show Pony is 12.2. The Next Step up for Show Hunter Pony is 13 hands. They have to get annual height certificates when young and then they get a life height cert. If they "measure out" (ie too big for their classes) you've got problems because they will then be too small for the next classes up although you do have options (especially if pure bred welsh for example).

  1. It's not just about size it's about type. A show pony should really be a hack (thoroughbred) in miniature whilst a show hunter should be what it says on the tin - a small version of a show hunter. It will need to have more bone and bulk than a show pony.

  1. Open Show ponies are expected to walk, trot and canter as a group. They will be expected to extend in their individual show. Open Show Hunter Ponies are expected to do the same but can also be asked to gallop in company (usually in batches of 3/4 but this really only happens at big shows these days). They will however be expected to gallop in their individual shows and this is considered one of the most important aspects of their show.

You won't have a problem with children riding ponies riding ponies that are "too old" for them. The top kids like Poppy Carter ride a range of pony sizes. The biggest problem will be ringcraft. Children like my daughter would bamboozle an 8yo in an Open 13 hand Class with their confident riding and showmanship. However if your little girl is turning 9 before the end of the year than a 12.2 show pony may be the way to go - realising it may take them a few months of practise at little shows.

Let me know if you've any further questions!
Ohwhatbliss · 05/09/2014 12:02

Butkin, thank you thank you what a helpful and informative post. They have lined up 2 x 12.2hh to see this weekend (although both on second viewings so may be gone before then) that, to my show pony novice eye, look pretty good (I'm a dressage girl through and through) I think in reality whilst sis in law has county aspirations they will have their hands full with local shows for the next few years (they have only been showing at local level for one season!). Thanks again for everyone's help, I have had more informative replies on here than on the specialist horse forum I am part of!

OP posts:
Butkin · 05/09/2014 12:56

Good luck with your 12.2 search. Keep your eye on Horsequest. Probably expect to pay between 3,000 to 4,000 for a County show level although depends on age and experience. Be prepared to haggle from the asking price. Now is a very good time to buy as people are moving on ponies if children are out of class for next year and it will give your Children the Winter/Spring to bond with them.

faitaccompli · 14/09/2014 17:04

Above all else, an excellent temperament is paramount. You can have the best looking pony in the country but if it can't produce an immaculate individual show, then you will be propping up the end of the line (or, worse still, the child will simply refuse to get on board!)

The schoolmasters who are county standard will not be cheap. But they ARE worth their weight in gold, and generally hold their value pretty well.

Remember also, if you buy now, the pony will cost less. However, this should be weighed up against the cost of keeping a pony in work over the winter. Plus the associated behavioural problems that some experience when they do not get enough turn out/exercise etc.

Is this the child's first pony? If so, then the most important thing is that she has fun and gains confidence. Please don't be rushed into buying something.

I remember calling about a horse a few years ago that was for sale. I was told that I needed to hurry as "X" was coming to see it that very day. Which would have been fine, but I was the "X" they were referring to and I had not made any appointment to view at that point!

Pony Shopping is great fun - so take your time and the right pony will find you!

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