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  • Writer's pictureAngie Rickard

UK Postcard: Angie Rickard at the Summer Championships

Australian photographer at large ANGIE RICKARD takes us this week to the UK’s National Pony Society Summer Championship Show at the Three Counties Showground in the Malvern Hills, south of Birmingham. While officially “on holiday” she has again shared some images and gives an insight into how the littlest competitors experience the show.

ABOVE: At a balmy 24 degrees the littlies were allowed to remove their jackets. Picture: ANGIE RICKARD

THE Summer Championship Show is the culmination of the National Pony Society year, with qualifying events held over three full days. It’s like numerous shows held at the same time and venue, giving competitors many choices. The weather was quite “warm” by UK standards, reaching 25 degrees by late morning and allowing for the novice Mountain and Moorland (M&M) “first ridden” little riders to remove their jackets. I watched the open M&M lead rein class and M&M first ridden earlier, with 20 plus in the classes. Clearly very well-trained handlers, ponies and riders, who use an area that is huge – about four times the area we use in Australia so the handlers certainly do some running.

They have two judges. One judges the workout then the pony goes back to the line-up before being called forward for the second judge to assess the conformation. That judge then asks for a trot out and back to assess movement. This happens in both the lead rein and first ridden classes, then the scores are added to get the final results.

ABOVE: Two judges and it runs like clockwork. Pictures: ANGIE RICKARD

They have it down to a fine art. It all runs like clockwork, very efficient stewarding and the competitors know their job.

If you don’t trot out in a straight line as directed by the judge then you don’t get a score, so no wobbling about trying to hide a swinging leg or cow hocks.

The little riders are not left waiting for ages in the line-up either, as scores are tallied immediately and presentations are done straight after.

Having two judges assess the pony in different aspects makes for a much fairer judging system rather than just choose a winner from a simple workout.

It was really lovely to see the different small breeds being shown unplaited in the Mountain and Moorland classes.

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