• Fran Cleland

Shetlands show off their versatility at annual big day out


ABOVE: Matilda Newton, being led by Ruby Davis, had a great day out competing in a range of classes.

MAYBE they were once thought of as pit ponies, or stars of Thelwell cartoons, but the Shetland Pony breed also has one of the most responsible jobs on the planet as the first mount of very small children.


Over time, they have stopped just being good little harness ponies or jogging along on the end of a lead.


Today, a good one costs a good deal of money and can be found not only doing their original job of child-minder, but feature in dressage, show classes, in harness teams or any number of occupations.


As well as having their own saddle classes at the biggest shows, they are competing in open competition against bigger ponies and winning. The Shetland Pony Performance Day has been running for more than 20 years and is a huge favourite with lovers of the pony aptly described as “small, smart and special”.


ABOVE: Why Thelwell loved Shetlands.

Held this year at Rochester in Central Victoria, they competed in harness, games, cross country, dressage, carrying grownups and kids with the same ease.


The ponies were shared around, with adult riders, active juniors and tiny tots on leads, and enjoyed themselves as much as the humans.


The champion stallion was Chesapeake Park Highlander shown by the Gerber family, who also won the best newcomer with Falconhurst Showpiece, who was a cross country star.


The Davies family also scored a double winning the champion mare with Caramia Pandora and reserve with Caramia Brodie, who was also reserve champion junior novelty pony for Ruby Davies.


The champion gelding was Hawick Sterling shown by the Sheehan family and their Pilinta Park Kimberley starred as the champion junior novelties pony ridden by Kayla Caton.


Best pony ridden by child 10 years and under went to Gracedale Barrister, ridden by Taylah Leask.


Best pony ridden by child over 10 years was Caramia Pandora, with Ruby Davis aboard. Pandora was also ridden for a win in the best working hunter class by Matilda Newton.


Best pony ridden by an adult was Chesapeake Park Pokaface, ridden by Bec Gerber.


Best open pony was Calca Park Foxtrot ridden by Ruby Davis. Runner up open pony was Prospect Blue Concord ridden by Tayla Leask.


GALLERY

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All images by Karen @ Mountain and Moorland Australia