These classes are restricted by height and the age of the rider. The class is normally described as: –

“Lead rein show pony (mare or gelding) not exceeding 12.0hh ridden by a child 3 years and under 8 years old”.

“Lead rein show hunter pony (mare or gelding) not exceeding 12.0hh ridden by a child 3 years and under 8 years old”.

The pony is led by a handler on foot and although it is the pony that is being judged, the overall impression is important and both the rider and the handler should be turned out professionally. The current trend is for the handler and rider to have more or less matching outfits that complement the pony. The child should be dressed in riding clothes and the leader should wear a hat and be in a suit or sports jacket (male) or in a dress or suit (female).

The pony must be suitable for a small beginner as this class caters for younger children starting to ride. Temperament and manners are paramount. A tiny child is not expected to be very much more than a passenger enjoying the ride, whilst the older child is expected to be a little more competent.

The pony should be willing, well mannered, obedient and relaxed. The Lead Rein Pony is expected to be a quality riding type pony with all the characteristics of a good riding animal. It should have an established and very settled head carriage with soft regular paces that inspire confidence in its young rider.

The pony must be shown in a snaffle bridle with a leather lead rein, held by the handler in the left hand, attached to the cavesson noseband. A narrow strap may be attached to the front of the small saddle for the child to hold if necessary. The handler may carry a cane but the rider must have neither whip or spurs.

The expected workout in a Lead Rein class is a walk away and then trot a figure of eight. The pony must be able to stop for the child and the handler should not have to maintain contact with the pony for the entire workout. The handler should be able to hold the lead rein in the left hand about a metre from the pony with the right hand free to assist the child if necessary. The rider should be encouraged to rise at the trot.

Ponies competing in Lead Rein are eligible to compete in First Ridden Show Pony/Show Hunter Pony, Show Pony Ridden/Show Hunter Pony Ridden and Riding Pony Ridden by a Child.

Photo: Bridey Lee

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