These are judged in height classes which are normally in three categories:
i) Not exceeding 12.2hh
ii) Over 12.2hh and not exceeding 13.2hh
iii) Over 13.2hh and not exceeding 14.2hh (3 yr olds not to exceed 14.1hh with ½ inch to be added for shows in the period from February 1 to July 31)

These are often split into 2 inch classes with the category (e.g. 13hh n.e. 13.2hh) and categories may be combined for championships (e.g. champion 12.2hh – 14.2hh).

The pony may be ridden by a child or an adult. The overall impression is important so the pony should not appear to be either over mounted or under mounted. Both the rider and the pony should be well and professionally turned out, with the pony’s mane plaited and with the tail plaited or pulled.

These classes are the true realm of the Riding Pony so the pony itself must be one of real quality and refinement, although the type should vary somewhat between the different categories.

A show pony must be elegant, full of quality, free moving with correct conformation, good manners and always exhibit true pony character.
It is expected that all Riding Ponies exhibit free forward movement and straightness of action.

Workouts in show pony classes should demonstrate the pony’s ability at all paces. The pony should demonstrate balance, responsiveness, impulsion, obedience and provide a comfortable ride.

It is recommended that judges consider using the Riding Pony published work-outs. An extended canter is not essential but may be included in the workout to display the pony’s ability to lengthen stride and to transition back to the working canter without resistance. Ponies should be able to halt square and stand still.

Saddlery should be suitable to the size of the pony and plaited, ribboned browbands and rosettes are acceptable on the bridle, which should be elegant and well-fitted. A plain show saddle that is the right size for both the pony and the rider will help to give a balanced overall picture.

Photo: Sandy Morphett


Although in the same height range as First Ridden Show Ponies, 12.2hh Show Ponies should show more quality and refinement and be much more freely going than a first ridden.

The pony should have an elegant front, a refined head and sound limbs with adequate bone. Paces should be free, light and airy and, as these ponies are mostly ridden by small children, these ponies must have good temperament and manners.

It is expected that all Riding Ponies exhibit free forward movement and straightness of action. Although manners are high on the list of requirements for this class the judge  may forgive a tiny bit of exuberance.

Photo: Lorelle Mercer


The judging of these classes should follow similar lines to the 12.2hh class with the same principles applying. The judge will be looking for the elegant, quality ponies, with great presence and manners.

As in all show pony classes, sound conformation is sought with a small, neat head, elegant front and fine limbs with adequate bone. There should be evidence in all paces of length of stride and free movement. The workout should present a well-balanced, flowing picture with smooth transitions. Ponies should give the appearance of a comfortable ride and not be stiff or over bent. It is expected that all Riding Ponies exhibit free forward movement and straightness of action.

Photo: Julie Wilson


Most of the points outlined previously for ponies up to 13.2 apply to the larger category but obviously these ponies will show some evidence of larger breeds. While many of these ponies will have a significant proportion of Thoroughbred or Arab in their background, it is essential that the 14.2 pony still shows show pony characteristics.

Riding Ponies in this height group should resemble a miniature hack exhibiting pony qualities. Just as obvious pony characteristics are not desirable in a hack, the awards in a pony class should not go to a miniature hack which shows no evidence of pony quality.

This larger height animal should exhibit a straight,  free flowing movement, and a well-balanced ride.

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