- Ponies are shown unplaited, but may have lightly pulled manes and tails. The jaw line and heels may be trimmed, but the whiskers should be left untrimmed.
- Clipping, except for the legs, is allowed for ponies 4 years and over, in in-hand, ridden and working pony classes.
- No make up or false hair is allowed or any other falsification of markings.
- Yearlings should not be shown in bits. Stud Stallions 2 years and over may be shown in bridles with bits. Chifney bits are not allowed in any circumstances.
- Judges have been asked to take behaviour and temperament into account and not to judge ponies whose behaviour they consider to be a danger to either its handler/rider or other competitors. Such a pony will be asked to leave the ring.
- No commercial, stud, or pony names to be displayed in the ring.
- 2 year old colts are NOT permitted to be shown without a licence.
Judges List 2018 click here
Showing your New Forest Pony – Questions and Answers
Q. We have a registered new forest mare and we are taking her to our local agricultural show. Can you advise us on the type of bridle and bit that we should use in the ridden M&M class, snaffle, double or pelham with double reins?
A. All ponies in Novice Classes should be shown in a snaffle bridle. Seek the guidance of an experienced trainer to help you and your pony progress to a double – a pelham (particularly a jointed) can be a diplomatic transition between snaffle and double. Even in an Open Class, I would prefer to see a pony going sweetly in a snaffle rather than over-bitted and unhappy!
Q. If we want to show a New Forest Pony in hand this year (she’s rising 5) maybe even at Surrey County can you tell me if in hand bridle or white headcollar is needed. Also as we are about to purchase a new saddle am I right in assuming brown tack is better than black for M&M or working M&M classes?
A. The NFPB&CS showing rule does not allow yearlings to be bitted at any show, but for older ponies its usually OK (except for NF & Hampshire and Breed Show) but individual show society rules should be referred to carefully! As for black saddles, its personal preference and what compliments the pony – I personally prefer brown, but the fit and style is far more important!
Q. I have a 13.2 New Forest pony and I would like to take her to some local shows. Would I enter her in M&M small breed classes or large breeds.
A. New Forest Ponies are designated as a Large Breed whatever their height, efforts are being made to get a change in the rules so that small NF Ponies can compete against other small ponies but at the present time whatever their size, they must compete against other Large Breeds. However many WHP classes are divided on height not breed.
Q. I’m looking to show my pony in an in-hand Breed Class at a one day agricultural show, should I show him in a double bridle or snaffle bridle with a leather lead rope. My pony is 8 and in the rule book it doesn’t make it clear what ponies should be shown in in this particular event.
A. If the Show Society rules allow you to show in a bridle, the answer depends on what your pony will ‘show’ best in – I prefer to use a simple in-hand bridle but a double is perfectly acceptable. If your pony looks nice in a white rope halter and more importantly, you can control him in it, that too is acceptable.
Q. I am thinking of showing in hand at the New Forest show this year, what is the correct dress code?
A. If you have taken the trouble to turn your pony out well, it makes sense to look the part yourself. Clean, tidy and comfortable – tweed jacket, shirt & tie, jodphurs or trousers, appropriate footwear, hat. If your pony has light legs, wear dark trousers – a muddle of legs is very distracting for the judge!
Q. Could you please tell me if the rules allow for a New Forest gelding to be shown in a bitless leather bridle in the In-hand class at the New Forest show rather than a white head collar.
A. You can show your gelding in either a bridle, a leather show slip (bitless) or a white rope halter.
Q. For in hand showing at the New Forest Show, would a smart waistcoat with shirt & trousers be acceptable dress? and does it matter what colour your gloves are?
A. Sounds ‘acceptable’, although I would suggest investing in a tweed jacket if you intend doing quite a bit of showing. Brown gloves blend in better, but use black if you already have a decent pair.
Q. My gelding is 15 years old – will this be a huge disadvantage for the 4 years & over class? I can’t do the ridden class due to him having breathing difficulties.
A. Always be positive in your attitude to showing. Age is not necessarily a handicap if your pony has good conformation, moves well and is presented looking fit and well – at 15, Farriers Drummer Boy is still very difficult to beat!
Q. Is it correct to wear a bowler hat when showing NF?
A. A bowler is ‘correct’ and can look very smart on some men, but beware, others (me included) either look like the village idiot or a flour grader!
Q. I have just brought a bay New Forest colt foal I have some experience in showing but I was wondering if it is not liked for you to show in a long skirt? I would like to look smart and also like to be noticed is this terribly unsuitable for New Forest ponies?
A. I can only reiterate my answer to a similar question asked earlier – ‘clean, tidy and comfortable’! Although most ladies showing natives do wear trousers, there is nothing stopping you from wearing a skirt. Remember your turnout should not only compliment your pony but also be ‘suitable’ – some of the outfits seen in the leading rein classes are more appropriate for a society wedding rather than the show ring!
Q. When showing Part Registered NF foals, and entering the Part bred M&M classes, is it correct to show my foal in a white halter or an in-hand bridle? Also do Part Bred/Reg NF foals, (or at any age,) have to be plaited for showing?
A. At the Breed Show ‘ponies registered in the First Cross and Part-Bred sections of the Stud Book may be shown plaited and in bridles’, which is likely to be the case in Part-Bred Mountain & Moorland classes at other shows – but always check schedules and show rules carefully!
Q. I am confused!! Though pestered by many to ‘tidy up’ and pull my Foresters mane, and especially his forelock, I have been reluctant to as I think he looks so ‘pretty’ with his flowing natural locks, I also understand that as a native he should be kept this way. Looking at pictures in the show results on the site, many of the ponies do have their manes and tails pulled, barring stallions off the Forest perhaps. So, which is correct? And will he lose out in a show, no matter how small, for looking a tad shaggy and ‘eau-naturale’ ?
A. The Breed Society rules do allow ‘lightly pulled manes and tails’ and you will expect to see most ponies trimmed. Remembering that the standard of the ponies is now very high, good presentation is very important – you may well be penalised by some judges if your pony looks “a tad shaggy”!
Q. They say that the pony can’t wear make-up of any sort in New Forest breed classes and M&M at county level but does this exclude chalk for their legs and hoof polish.
A. Our showing rules do prevent ‘the use of make-up and any falsification of markings’ – whitening socks and oiling feet are what I would consider ‘natural’ enhancements and are perfectly acceptable.
Q. I own a 2 year old filly that I am hoping to show this year, but am confused as to how much she should be ‘tidied’. Should I trim her feathers (if so, by how much) and how short should I pull her mane? I have seen pictures with them very short and also very long. What is the correct length?
A. Most of the heel feather will come out as she gets her summer coat, but can be finished off by trimming with scissor through a comb, or thinning scissors. The ‘correct’ length of a mane is what best compliments the look of your filly and of course your personal taste, but trimming must never detract from the native quality of a pony! Checking out photographs on this website, or better still, ponies in the breed classes.
Q. I have noticed many judges of Riding Pony background, are penalising M&M ponies for splints and blemishes, I can’t find anywhere in the rules where it states natives are so penalised. So, am I right in thinking they may be confusing the Riding Pony rules with M&M?
A. All judging is about deciding on the different merits of each animal – conformation, movement, type, way of going, manners, ring presence etc. The standard of ponies in the ring is exceptionally high and ‘lumps and bumps’ will be a serious disadvantage, although most judges will make allowances for an older animal in a performance class showing a little wear and tear!
Q. I have a registered forest bred yearling who I am going to show in hand next year. Is he allowed to be trimmed and have his mane pulled to a reasonable length. Also can I show him in a in hand bridle?
A. The Breed Society rules do allow ‘lightly pulled manes and tails’ and you will expect to see most ponies trimmed. You can show your two year-old gelding in an in-hand bridle (unless otherwise stated in the show schedule) which will give you more control.
Q. Does it matter which side the mane falls? Our young mare has a heavy mane falling very neatly and consistently to the near side. She has a very nice neck with good muscle. Should I be plaiting her mane loosely and training it over to the off side? I can’t seem to find out from any of the books.
A. From a Senior M&M Panel Judge -“Personally I don’t take a blind bit of notice which side the mane falls providing it is neat and tidy, if I have one to produce which has the mane the “wrong” side I leave it, as it is a devilish job to get it to go over and it never ever looks as good.”
Q. I want to enter my pony in a HOYS M&M WHP qualifier this year, and I was wondering how big I would have to jump? My pony is a 14hh New Forest.
A. In the class for ponies exceeding 138cms (13.2hh) the minimum jump height is 84cms (2′ 9″) and the maximum 99cms (3′ 3″), with a maximum spread of 84cms (2′ 9″). Check the NPS Showing & Competition Rules book. There are other M&M WHP competitions that you may be interested in.
Q. I am hoping to show my mare in lead rein this summer. can you please tell me if it is only suitable to use plain browbands. I have one with rosettes on the end, would this be acceptable?
A. Turnout must be ‘appropriate’ and compliment the look of the pony – a colourful browband may enhance the look of a small head, but may give a more workmanlike head a plain appearance!
Q Can an adult ride a 12.2 hh pony, are long boots be acceptable, and should I use a double bridle.
A. It is not a problem for an adult to show a smaller pony wearing long boots. Ponies in Novice classes must be shown in a snaffle – progression to a double will come as the pony becomes more educated!
Q. Please could you tell me what makes a pony have good or bad comformation,as when I go to shows only doing novice ridden classes the judge seems to like my pony, but I don’t tend to get in the first six but am usually pulled in just behind. He’s well behaved whilst being shown and does as asked.
A. Your pony’s conformation cannot be changed, but good production and particularly training can improve ‘way of going’, which is the priority for any ridden class. Get someone with a camcorder to record your performance in the ring to highlight any weak areas. Use dressage tests to improve your technique and confidence – the judges comments can be invaluable as a training aid. Finally, I would highly recommend that you invest in services of an experienced trainer.
Q. I have a yearling filly, can you please tell me the rules with regarding head collars, she is a NF , both the stallion and the dam run on the forest but the dam was bought in to foal, so she is not classed as ‘forest bred’ . I am really confused as to what she should be shown in, ie white rope halter, nice leather show halter etc.
A. Yearlings may not be shown in bits, a leather in hand show slip or a white rope halter are both perfectly acceptable.
Q. I would like to start showing my NF x TB in-hand as she can no longer be ridden. What would I have to wear, and are you allowed to show them in a Dutch gag as she can be very strong?
A. Good behaviour is paramount in any class, so I would be very surprised if you were penalised by any judge for using a Dutch Gag if it gives you control. If you have taken the trouble to turn your pony out well, it makes sense to look the part yourself: clean, tidy and comfortable – tweed jacket, shirt & tie, jodphurs/trousers, appropriate footwear, hat. Enjoy your showing!
Q. I was wondering how you qualified for HOYS and Olympia.
A. It tends to be the bigger shows that are allocated HOYS and Olympia qualifiers. For Olympia, it is only the Champion that collects the ticket for the final in December, but each section winner goes forward to the Horse of the Year Show in October.
Q. Hi, could you tell me what the rules for clipping a new forest pony are?
A. Our rules do allow clipping for ponies 4yrs and over, except for the legs. This will definately apply for NPS competitions and quite likely for Ponies UK and BSPS, but you will need to check their rule books.