Showing Rules for Exhibitors

Rules for Exhibitors Showing Shetland Ponies.

Please note that for showing purposes a pony's birthday is deemed to be January 1st.

1.         Dress: must be neat, no training shoes, baseball caps or jeans. Where possible, ladies should wear a collar and tie or blouse with jacket and neat trousers or skirt/kilt. Sensible footwear is essential to allow a pony to be shown effectively. Gentlemen should wear a collar and tie and jacket with neat trousers or a suit or kilt. Hats are not compulsory for either sex but, without doubt, improve the overall picture of pony and handler (and may be compulsory at some shows). There must be no individual stud, person or pony names displayed in any way in the ring e.g. on clothing, rugs, saddle cloths. Whips or show canes carried must not exceed 30” in length. Spurs may not be worn in ridden classes.

In the interests of safety, handlers aged 14 years or under must wear a hard hat when exhibiting in In-hand classes. Hard hats, conforming to current BS standards must be worn, and correctly secured, by all ages of exhibitors in ridden classes.


2.         Ring Etiquette: the Judge must never be spoken to using his/her name. Listen to instructions provided by the Steward or Judge and watch exhibitors in front of you. When asked to walk/trot a pony out, ensure the pony travels with you - do not drag it along. When turning the pony, push it away from you - do not pull it towards you. KNEELING IN FRONT OF PONIES IS NOT PERMITTED AT ANY TIME. Do not ever leave the ring before the end of the class without first gaining the permission of the Judge, through the Steward. Mobile phones are not permitted under any circumstance.

3.         Trimming/Clipping: the pony’s ears may be trimmed flat but there must be no trimming inside the ear. Trimming of the hair on the jaw line is acceptable. However, sensory whiskers MUST NOT be trimmed. Manes and tails must not be pulled but tails may be rough trimmed to clear the ground if dragging. Leg feathers must not be trimmed. No false hair, artificial colouring or make-up should be used. Working ponies of four years old or over only may be clipped in the interest of welfare. Under no circumstances should foals be clipped. Ponies should always be shown in a clean condition.

4.         Tack/Equipment: colts/stallions of two years old or over must be shown bitted.  Ridden stallions MUST display a stallion bridle badge. In-hand entire males 2 years and over are advised to display a stallion bridle badge. Younger animals and older females may be shown in a suitable headcollar. For In-Hand showing, only plain, English-style jointed or straight bar snaffles are permitted. Chifneys or other similar bits are not acceptable. For ridden classes, suitable bridles must be used. In the interests of safety, handlers aged 14 yrs. or under must wear a hard hat when exhibiting in In-hand classes. Hard hats, conforming to current BS standards must be worn, and correctly secured, by all ages of exhibitors in ridden classes. In lead rein classes, ponies must be shown in a suitable snaffle bridle with the reins going directly from the bit to the rider’s hands. The lead rein must be attached to the nose band only.

5.         Registration/Eligibility: In order to enter a stallion class at an affiliated show entire males aged 4 years old and over must have an "S" number and have been successfully through either the SPSBS Stallion assessment prior to 2006 or the current SPSBS Voluntary Veterinary Examination. Three year old fillies with foals at foot may not be shown. Foals must be a minimum of three weeks old on the day of the Show. Colts and stallions are not permitted in Young Handlers classes. Children aged under 14 years may not show colts (excluding foals) or entire males in In-hand classes. Children aged under 12 years may not show entire males in ridden classes. Please ensure that your pony is correctly registered in your name as required by law.  If the pony is on loan/lease then that should be lodged in writing with the office. 

6.         Championships:  where a Shetland is eligible to go forward to a Supreme Championship involving other breeds, every effort should be made to attend. This should be considered an honour and a chance to promote and bring the Shetland breed to the attention of others. If you cannot attend a Championship for which you are eligible, please ensure that you advise the Show Secretary and/or Steward as soon as possible.

7.         General: Exhibitors should be aware that a judge may not:

• place in a class a pony which to his/her knowledge has been bred, sold, leased or produced by the judge or his/her immediate family, partner, business partner or employer.

• place a pony in a class in which he/she has had a financial interest since 1st January of the preceding year.

• place a stallion in a class by whom he/she has had a mare stinted in that season.

• judge any rider/handler who has shown in a class a horse/pony owned, produced or trained by him/her since the 1st January of the preceding year.

If you intend to show a pony under a Judge falling into any of the above categories, please ensure that you advise the Show Secretary well in advance of the Show.  Always check show schedules to see if a current flu vaccination certificate is required.