Native Ponies' Potential to Shine in Working Hunter Classes

For equestrian enthusiasts, native ponies have always held a special place in their hearts. Their distinctive character and endurance make them a crowd favorite. However, when it comes to working hunter classes, their potential against more conventional breeds often comes into question. In this article, we'll explore the experiences of two successful riders, Amy Canavan-Smith and Vikki Smith, who have proven that native ponies can indeed excel in the Mountain & Moorland (M&M) working hunter classes.

Recognizing a Pony's Capacity for Work

Amy Canavan-Smith and Vikki Smith, both notable riders in the showing circuit, provide their valuable insights on judging the potential of native ponies in working hunter classes. According to them, a pony's capacity for work is often noticeable right from the start, with the canter being the most essential pace. A good canter requires a pony to display agility, balance, and endurance, all crucial requirements for performing well in working hunter classes.

A Powerhouse Pony: Faradale Black Jack

An illustrative example to consider when discussing native ponies' capabilities is Faradale Black Jack, a Dales pony ridden by Amy Canavan-Smith. Though slightly off-breed standard, he proved to be a stellar competitor owing to his powerful hocks. However, Amy stresses that for a pony to succeed, just physical attributes aren't sufficient. Mental readiness and a keenness for training are equally imperative for a pony's good performance.

Vikki Smith's Take on Native Ponies

Another successful rider, Vikki Smith, mirrors Amy's thoughts on native ponies. She believes that native ponies, known for their strong work ethic and adaptability, can shine in working hunter classes. Her Welsh Section D pony is a testament to this. Despite his lesser stature, this pony consistently places well due to his resilience and agility.

Training Native Ponies: A Unique Approach

Training native ponies for working hunter classes requires a different approach that focuses on bolstering their strength, balance, and agility, while keeping their spirit and willingness to learn intact. Techniques such as using ground poles, cavaletti, and hill work are especially effective for native pony training for working hunter classes.

Avenues for Further Research

From exploring specific training methods to understanding different horse breeds' roles in working hunter classes, there's a myriad of opportunities for further research. Delving deeper into the careers of successful riders like Amy Canavan-Smith and Vikki Smith could also offer valuable insights into a pony's personality on their performance.

In Summary

To cap it off, native ponies, with their unique attributes and a strong work ethic, do have the potential to succeed in working hunter classes. Providing diligent training and focusing on their inherent abilities can widen their path to success in the competitive equestrian world.