HOYS - Showing the world that a lame and obese pony can be a champion

NinjaPony

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For me the issue is not so much that there are issues and bad practices within showing, because the same is true for all equestrian activities to a greater or lesser extent. It’s that HOYS, as the pinnacle of showing achievement, should not be rewarding these bad practices and holding them up as the gold standard. That suggests the problems start right at the top. None of us are perfect, my Welsh A has always had a crest and has certainly been overweight at various points in his life despite my best efforts, but that shouldn’t be rewarded with a championship….
 

milliepops

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Clearly some of you don't know how hard it can be keeping weight off certain types.

I know Welsh cobs who are pretty much in starvation paddocks and are still very much overweight. I think that little Welsh cob is positively delightful :).

I hope you're all whiter than white :D.
Not a showing person, i have done a teeny bit, not my scene but I did really like Eurostar, was there for the M&M champs last night & hoped he would win. I was just thinking that my welsh in full advanced dressage work is in similar condition, clipped and naked, on a bare patch :(
 

splashgirl45

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i must admit i rather liked the welsh cob as well, yes he is a bit overweight but how many on this forum have slightly overweight horses/ponies at this time of year. mine was always a bit overweight before the winter but perfect weight in spring.
 
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I hope you're all whiter than white :D.
Can we all please stop thinking that you're not allowed to have an opinion on something unless you yourself are perfect...? I have no problem with people doing their best with the horse and the environment they have, it's when it's actively rewarded at top level that it becomes a problem, as it then becomes a goal for thousands upon thousands of hopefuls..

Same thing with another thread I was on the other day, I have no issue with an unbalanced horse or one who is training for a movement being overbent, it happens - I'm not going to lambast you for it should you post a video, but when someone specifically selects a clip of it to advertise their equestrian clothing business, and to appeal to teenagers in the community, then it's a problem.
 

Rosemary28

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Clearly some of you don't know how hard it can be keeping weight off certain types.

I know Welsh cobs who are pretty much in starvation paddocks and are still very much overweight. I think that little Welsh cob is positively delightful :).

I hope you're all whiter than white :D.
P (in my avatar) is a Welsh A x Dartmoor. I know how hard it is to keep the weight off! The Welshie doesn't look as bad to me, but the Dartmoor is horrendously fat. P is a little overweight at the moment, but he's also an old man and loses a lot of condition in the winter, so I'd rather he was a little too fat than too thin going into winter. All spring and summer he has been in amazing condition, considering he only has to look at grass to put weight on usually. Your comment is a bit unfair.
 
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honetpot

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I do think HOYS is one place where if you are wealthy you can buy your qualification as you can buy a horse already qualified and ride there yourself or you can get a pro to qualify and then you ride on the day. I don't think you can do that with other competitions such as SJ or dressage?


[Q
[QUOTE="lozloz1, post: 14738980, member:
You may be able to buy an expensive horse or pony that has qualified but you may well not be able to produce it or ride it to the standard required. I am not talking about feeding it till it is obese.

There is a great satisfaction to be had spotting something quite ordinary and working with it to produce something quite special. Covering up faults by careful presentation is a skill in itself, clever use of tack etc can make all the difference. Also many of these horses and ponies and not easy to ride in an electric atmosphere especially when you think of what they have to put up with at County Shows and they have to have a decent way of going. Not all are drilled in side reins. I didn't see any of the working hunters in the final cantering round with their quarters in, its a massive achievement to compete at HOY in workers and get a clear round. They are not dressage horses, maybe under the atmosphere the riders "forgot" to work on straightness or put the horse in shoulder fore!!! Maybe the person who commented that saw a different video to me, it saw the supreme horse products on where they were all cantering down the long side of the arena face on.

Many of todays top riders in other disciplines started out as show ring riders, Charlotte Dujardin and Jane Thelwell spring to mind off the top of my head but there are plenty others. Jane Thelwell said in her book that it taught her how to ride under extreme pressure and manage difficult ponies whilst making it look easy.

Plenty show horses start their careers in the show ring and go on to do other stuff very successfully.

I know quite a few folks who show minatures, they spend hours on their outfits, dying their tails, applying make up etc, not my thing, but they love doing it, the ponies are happy and well looked after, each to their own, everyone is entitled to enjoy their hobby. Show jumping or Le Trec would certainly not be mine, I find it boring but lots don't so long may it continue.
It's meant to be fun after all, I don't know why people are so judgemental.[/QUOTE]

I used to dabble in a bit of showing, and I have stewarded at major shows, and walking down the horse box lines you learn a lot. I have friends who have spent thousands on buying and having ponies produced, so I know how the game works, and how much money is involved. Showing is about the only sport where the animal can be worked to exhaustion, either by lunging, or putting a larger rider on it, and then is sent out in to the ring with another jockey on it. The stewarding rules,outside the ring are too lax, the doping rules a mess, one show I worked at the horse fell down in the lorry park, because they had over done it. Then there are the 'calmers' that are advertised, well if they work they should be illegal, but they get around it, saying it's a feed supplement.
Why does make me cross. Well it's because its a game/sport that when you start to play it the rules are hidden, no one tells you that perfect pony, which is often supposed to be suitable for a child, is in fact the equivalent of a small sports car, and needs to be treated as such. I have listened to so many tales of woe from parents who have bought a child's pony from a pro or semi-pro yard, only to find it's not suitable for a child without a lot of work.
An adult can buy the horse of their dreams and find they are over horsed, but when you factor in children and the amount of subtle abuse some of these ponies undergo, both of which are being dominated by adult ambitions, is not just ponies being obese that needs to be looked at.
 

Kaylum

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What is the benefit to the throat lash being so horrifically tight?
The cheek pieces are also too long for the ponies head. The buckles should be level with the eye whereas this is at the top of the head.

A good fitting bridle is attention to detail.

Sorry I am really fussy and shudder at the amount of badly fitted bridles there are around.

Please if you know about tack do not look at a very well done saddlepad/jodhpur manufacturer catalogue you would cry.
 

NinjaPony

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Can we all please stop thinking that you're not allowed to have an opinion on something unless you yourself are perfect...? I have no problem with people doing their best with the horse and the environment they have, it's when it's actively rewarded at top level that it becomes a problem, as it then becomes a goal for thousands upon thousands of hopefuls..

Same thing with another thread I was on the other day, I have no issue with an unbalanced horse or one who is training for a movement being overbent, it happens - I'm not going to lambast you for it should you post a video, but when someone specifically selects a clip of it to advertise their equestrian clothing business, and to appeal to teenagers in the community, then it's a problem.
This!!

Also worth pointing out that being critical of practices or particular examples doesn’t necessarily mean you think there is no positive things that come out of showing. My pony of a lifetime came from a small showing producer, he was a very talented WH pony who had been to HOYS and the excellent manners installed in him made him an absolute joy. Yes I had to ‘retrain’ his way of going for the dressage ring but he was absolutely rock solid in nearly all situations and that was in huge part due to his previous life experience. I’d have another ex show horse, provided I knew exactly where it came from and who had been involved in its care. It’s unwise to assume that critics of showing don’t understand it, lots of us do, and I don’t count myself a particularly vociferous critic…
 

Pinkvboots

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I think the original picture is an awful example and I thought it could be photo shopped it just doesn't look right to me, the champion and reserve are owned and produced by the same yard/ people.
 

Sussexbythesea

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I'm sorry - I just don't think that's actually a purpose. (Never mind hacks and hunters being hilarious old school non-categories)
Be honest you’re not sorry at all.

There is no real purpose to any horse “sport” these days except for our own enjoyment. Also I don’t get why a “sport” is any more valuable activity than a non-sport. Not sure why people get so hung up on it either way.

I really enjoy show prep and pimping my ride but then I’m one of those ghastly amateurs that only does unaffiliated anything.
 

DabDab

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Totally agree with you here AA.

As for those making comments and those ' liking them', regarding 'badly photoshopped' and the pony 'not in proportion', give yourselves a day off from the ignorance and ridiculous comments, and go and play around with a camera, clearly you do not understand photography and angles. That photograph is a point and shoot taken by a non professional, taken more towards the front end of the pony, which can and has made the pony look totally out of proportion, there are also others on the HOYS fb page which also are making heads look big and back ends not in proportion. Regarding the pony's neck, he was left entire and advertised for sale as a stallion as a four old, if anyone bothers to look the pony up, and if any of you have had dealings with colts left late before gelding you should realise that usually they have a more cresty neck.

Another photo taken at BSPS champs, same pony, same ownership and jockey, however in his summer coat here, and, taken correctly from a totally different angle !

View attachment 80688 And no I have no connection with the people concerned.
I agreed with AA's comment - to say
that hacks and hunters aren't relevant now is a bit bonkers. My horses are mainly hacks and the failure to understand and appreciate what makes a good hack causes a lot more heartache in the general horsey population than a failure to recognise what makes a good showjumper.

However, any argument that that pony is anything other than obese is equally bonkers. In the picture you have posted there it has a back gutter, a filled in flank and a roll of fat between the front of the saddle flap and its point of shoulder. Ponies that size shouldn't be winning in the ring. Not saying that it needs to look like an eventing-fit sports pony, but saying that it needs to lose a few kgs is hardly controversial (or at least it shouldn't be controversial)
 

Winters100

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Totally agree that there is almost no purpose to most of the things I do with my horses beyond feeding them, making sure that they have clean living conditions, and giving them some movement to keep them fit and healthy. I will never make a living from horses, they don't care about most of the things I do. Today I folded all the rugs in our barn and arranged them neatly - pointless, right? Or at least it is if we believe that everything we do around horses must have a purpose. I cannot say that spending hours on my ponies appearance would be my thing, but if someone else enjoys it then wonderful, I am glad that they are enjoying their horses. Equally I do not really enjoy hacking unless it is at speed, but it does not mean that I cannot appreciate what a lovely hobby it is for others to go for a nice gentle hack. They probably look at what I do and feel that they would not enjoy it, but I hope that they would not consider something which gives me a great deal of pleasure as 'pointless'.

All competitions involving horses have an element of money in them, whether it is jumping, polo, showing or dressage if you can afford better horses you have a better chance. I am not really sure why showing seems to attract such criticism. I agree that improvements could probably be made, for example around the weight of the horses who win, but is it not true that improvements could be made in every discipline?

From my limited knowledge I can agree with those who suggest that a healthy weight should be rewarded in the show ring, but suggesting that the whole thing is pointless just because it is not to our own taste seems to me to be overly judgmental.
 

McFluff

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I've always been of the view that as long as horse and human are happy then each to their own.
I do share the concerns others have expressed about some of the practices at the highest end of showing (I single highest levels out as they should be best practice and aspirational). Would a solution not be to have some relatively simple welfare rules - e.g. permitted bits at all levels and perhaps a vetting requirement for the highest level classes. We have vettings at all the senior level championships in other horse sports, so why not showing? That way the judge doesn't have to get into the soundness/weight debate (and SM backlash) - the vetting would fail any that condition score above a 6/10 or are lame (I'd also like a tack check done as a lot of those saddles are way too small/tight so that they look neat - I say this from experience of rehabbing my ex-show horse, and have been told by vet, physio and saddler that this is common in show horses). If a vet check was done at the top level, the impact would filter down, as there is no point in qualifying if you are then vetted out from the senior comp.

Personally I don't show, but my horse of a lifetime was a show horse before I got him. It has given him really good manners and life experience. Yes, I've had to reschool to suit me, but he's a dream to handle, take out in company, behaves so well at competitions - he's a very good example of how showing can educate a horse.
 

Rowreach

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Clearly some of you don't know how hard it can be keeping weight off certain types.

I know Welsh cobs who are pretty much in starvation paddocks and are still very much overweight. I think that little Welsh cob is positively delightful :).

I hope you're all whiter than white :D.
Im sorry but why are you the only person allowed an opinion on this thread?

I’m all for discussion and debate, but please stop telling people who disagree with you that they know nothing. You’d be surprised at the wealth of knowledge and experience of those you are putting down.
 

J&S

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I would like to make the point that should either the Dartmoor,or the Welsh I pointed out, be standing in my stable when my vet came to vacinate them I know I would get a lecture about getting the weight off them for their own sakes. I spent the best part of a year getting Kgs off my own pony and am well aware how hard it is. I cannot see how other ponies should be rewarded for being over weight, albeit they are scrubbed up really well and can move on. As some one has said, every one to their own opinion.
 

ester

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I am not really sure why showing seems to attract such criticism. I agree that improvements could probably be made, for example around the weight of the horses who win, but is it not true that improvements could be made in every discipline?
I think showing might get more criticism because it has more of a pro/am/depends who is sat on it who wins reputation than other horse sports- which also means that the best horse of it's type might not be the one that wins, when it should be.
 

SO1

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These people are role models for young people and people new to showing who want to get into it.

If we say it is ok for ponies to be this fat and do well then we are not sending a positive message to those who are aspiring to compete at this level.

I have a native I know how hard it is to get the weight off and he is muzzled and exercised every day and on soaked hay. He has to wear his muzzle most of the year.

Clearly some of you don't know how hard it can be keeping weight off certain types.

I know Welsh cobs who are pretty much in starvation paddocks and are still very much overweight. I think that little Welsh cob is positively delightful :).

I hope you're all whiter than white :D.
 

conniegirl

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Regardless of camera angle this pony in this photograph has a condition score of 8/9. There is a gutter over the hindquarters and the flank looks filled in. This photograph hides the crest and the withers however the grab strap is clearly seen attached to the front of the saddle.
Grab straps are allowed in LR classes
 

teddy_eq

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Im sorry but why are you the only person allowed an opinion on this thread?

I’m all for discussion and debate, but please stop telling people who disagree with you that they know nothing. You’d be surprised at the wealth of knowledge and experience of those you are putting down.
Definitely don't think I am the only person allowed an opinion on this thread, there has been a lot of insightful input.

What I find absolutely staggering is how some people think it is OK to comment on a picture of a lovely pony (the Welsh cob) that someone has worked so hard to produce to get to HOYS and offer little more than criticism when they probably know nothing about the specific producer or pony in question - or have any context for that matter!
 

ihatework

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I meant as in, the context of the ponies production / background etc.
Thats quite a naive comment.
When you are competing at the top of your game (which I would class a HOYS winner as being) you are (or should be) judged on the presentation and performance at that point in time.

The horses or riders history really shouldn’t come into it. It should be is this the best horse in the ring at the time.

Now, for all I know it might have been. We are looking at a very nice (if morbidly obese) Welsh. I’d wager there were a ring full of fatties, so it’s quite possible that in balance this was the most correct to type, well behaved fatty. Doesn’t stop him being a porker.
 

scats

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Clearly some of you don't know how hard it can be keeping weight off certain types.

I know Welsh cobs who are pretty much in starvation paddocks and are still very much overweight. I think that little Welsh cob is positively delightful :).

I hope you're all whiter than white :D.
I don’t think it’s about being whiter than white. Many of us on here (me included) struggle with our horses weight. One of mares has got EMS and I completely blame myself for allowing her to put weight on. She is pretty much retired due to injury so it’s even tougher when exercise can’t be done. But that’s no excuse. It was my fault, I took my eye off the ball.
We all recognise how hard it is, but I think what is being raised here is that judges are essentially saying that these overweight animals are the best in the country. So the flip side of that is that thousands of people out there who own welshies, natives( or any horse come to think of it) may well strive to have their horse in similar condition, or at least believe that’s what a horse in good condition should look like.
 

ycbm

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Clearly some of you don't know how hard it can be keeping weight off certain types.

I know Welsh cobs who are pretty much in starvation paddocks and are still very much overweight. I think that little Welsh cob is positively delightful :).

I hope you're all whiter than white :D.
Let's be honest, none of these ponies are fat because their owners are struggling to control the weight of a good doer. They are deliberately produced fat because it continues to assist in the winning of show classes.

It's borderline criminal under animal welfare legislation.
.
 
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