Under 17 to ride in Pony Hunters? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 5 Old 07-16-2012, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Under 17 to ride in Pony Hunters?

Hello All,
I have a question about Pony Hunter Divisions. I have noticed that at Hunter shows that have divisions for ponies, the riders all must be under the age of 17. Why is this? I understand that most riders under 17 are small and lightweight, therefore making the ponies a good match for their riders. However, there are plenty of small adults out there as well. Imagine if you were 21 and only 5 foot, trying to ride a larger horse could present a problem, but showing a pony in a pony division over the age of 17 is not allowed? I think it would suck, actually I know it sucks (I'm 21 and 5 foot) And as far as showing ponies in horse divisions, from what I have seen there are no rules saying you can't; but then you have to try and get a pony to make a horse stride between jumps and most judges wont even bother with a small pony showing in a Hunter class for horses.

I don't think its fair and I was wondering if anyone knew anything about why they did this??


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post #2 of 5 Old 07-16-2012, 08:31 AM
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I'm subbing just because I find this interesting...I've been told by some people that adults cannot ride ponies in Hunters, while other people have told me that's not true. So I'm interested to hear from the masses!

Especially because I'm an adult who is only 5'2" and rides a very small horse (14.3hh)...when we first bought and measured her 3 1/2 yrs ago she was 14.1hh...I think since then she's muscled up and lifted her back and because of that she's now at 14.3hh so now a technical horse but she's so close I bet she could get away with entering a pony division...except that I'm an adult and always thought you couldn't do that in Hunters. Which stinks because my little horse always has to do the adds, since the striding isn't set for a horse her size. She would nail the strides set for ponies though!

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post #3 of 5 Old 07-16-2012, 10:20 AM
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Subbing... I've seen a few adults at my local county shows that show smalls and mediums but I can't remember the division (I'm in the large division so I'm typically warming up while they ride...) I know for the WPCSA shows, you must be a junior to show in some divisions but the family I work for puts their 19 year old daughters in divisions on m/l ponies. When I show with them, they have me ride mostly smalls (I'm 15 and 5') and I've never seen anyone over about 12 compete with me.

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post #4 of 5 Old 07-16-2012, 10:29 AM
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I showed a small and a medium up til I was 18, but they count it at how old you are the previous nov and my bday is in dec.


Hoofprints, I don't think you could just get away with it, they get measured and have a height card !

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post #5 of 5 Old 07-16-2012, 10:54 AM
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Exactly, Gypsy.

The rule does actually allow you to show a pony at 18 because of the way the birthday is calced.

And yes, if you had a pony that had not been measured and didn't have a card, you could show it in the horse divisions but you'd be showing at a considerable disadvantage.

It may help to remember that the Hunter Divisions were originally designed as a progression - Short Stirrup to Pony Hunters to Children's Hunters to Junior Hunters and Equitation, then moving to either Jumpers or the Adult Hunter Divisions. Children weren't expected to stay on ponies much past 12 or 13, back in the day. Pony Equitation is a more recent innovation, if you were skilled enough to ride a real equitation test, you were expected to be on a horse.

The division structure frequently lags behind current reality. Several pros have told me there's no such thing as Children's Hunters anymore. Kids stay on ponies longer, a lot of them until they age off, or go straight to the Junior's and the Eq.

Also, it you wanted to show a pony in a pony division, many people will think it's unfair for an adult to compete against the kids. You could set up a separate division for adults on ponies, but I suspect the division wouldn't fill.

So, as a 5' adult in rated shows or shows run according to USEF rules, your best bet would be to show a small barreled horse that can make the striding in the AAs or AOs. There are horses out there that you should feel comfortable on. If you look around you at a hunter show, you'll see lots of examples.

If you really are only going to feel comfortable on a pony, your options are unrated or schooling shows that don't follow USEF rules, the schooling jumper divisions were adults are allowed to show ponies, or eventing.
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Last edited by maura; 07-16-2012 at 10:56 AM.
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