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The City Journals

Ogden Hosts Regional Miniature and Shetland Pony Show

Jul 06, 2016 09:30AM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Over the Memorial Day weekend, over a hundred miniature and Shetland ponies came together at the Golden Spike Arena for the Regional Miniature and Shetland Pony Show. The competition has been going on for the last 25 with competitors from Utah, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The competition rotates venues in those states and it was the eighth time Utah hosted. 

The competition has several different categories for the different ponies to compete in including jumping, halter, obstacles, showmanship and a variety of different driving incuding pleasure driving, country driving, formal driving and Sunday in the Park driving. The competition is divided up between adults, youths and a group specifically for the physically challenged. 

“We give out rossettes to the top six in each category,” said Laurie Villallpando, the treasurer for the Mountain West Miniature and Shetland Owners Incorporated, the local club hosted the competition. 

Toward the end of the competition, nine supreme champions were crowned with one champion of champions named on Sunday. 

During the showmanship event, judges scored the ponies based upon a rulebook that establishes the standards of perfection for each breed of pony. 

“During the driving, there are specific things the judges are looking for,” Villallpando said. 

Villapando explained people get into showing miniature and Shetland ponies because they used to show bigger horses and have since moved on to the smaller breeds. 

“They are less intimidating. You don’t need a lot of land to to care for them,” she said. “They are very easy to train. They want to please and they enjoy having a job.” 

The modern American Shetland pony comes in two height categories, either under 43 inches or between 43 and 46 inches at the whither. The minimum height is 28 inches. Originating in the Shetland Isles northeast of mainland Scotland, Shetland ponies were used for pulling carts and plowing farmland. During the industrial revolution, they were used as “pit ponies” in coal mines hauling out what was mined. In modern times, Shetland ponies are used for show and to be ridden by small children at fairs, carnivals and petting zoos. They are also sometimes used for therapeutic horseback riding purposes. 

Miniature ponies are between the 34 to 38 inches at the withers. While they are the size of a pony, some retain horse characteristics, leading to controversy whether they should be considered ponies or horses. They are often friendly and interact well with people. They are also trained as assistance animals for people with disabilities. Those who favor miniature ponies as service animals cite that they live longer than dogs and can be trained to perform much of the same tasks as dogs. Another advantage is some individuals, particularly from Muslim cultures, consider dogs to be unclean. However, horses and ponies are accepted. However, the classification of miniature ponies as assistance animals remains controversial.