And just like that, the year is done for us!

I hope everyone had a good showing/driving year. I haven’t really updated our show year, but it was quite full with some local shows and for the first time in 2 years, we were able to cross the border and did Metamora CDE and Garden State CDE as well as some pleasure and line shows which concluded for us at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto at the beginning of November. Now its time to take off the shoes and give the ponies (and us) a break for the winter.

I was able to qualify our single pony on the line and under saddle in Hunter and Dressage Sport Pony at our first show in the late spring for the Royal Winter Fair (you just need a 1st place in each of the classes you want to show in at the Royal). So it was nice to have qualified at the first show - this way I didnt have to go to any other shows with him and I could concentrate on getting my 2 year old out and about for some line classes off property.

We did take our pair to a local 2 day CT and they performed really well. Hubby had a bit of a brain fart and went off course on the dressage test, but fixed it and continued on.

It was a busy year for us as we also held my sister in laws wedding at our farm (on the same weekend as Bromont CDE so we did miss that one this year). I was able to get my 2 year old out to one Half Welsh/Sport Pony class where he won his classes and was Reserve Grand Champion - so I was now ready for the Royal with my now 2 qualified ponies.

We decided last minute to drive a single at Metamora as we wanted to do a little more training and homework with one of our pair first. We entered in the single Prelim pony Championship and our boy did not disappoint. He ended up first place single prelim pony and had the lowest score out of all 27 Prelim entries and ended up North American Prelim Champion.

We went to our friends farm in PA a bit early (one week before the NJ Garden State CDE) and it rained every day we were there! I just rode in their indoor and we were able to drive in their crushed gravel dressage ring 2 x before the show. Thank goodness the rain stopped a day before Garden State and the footing somehow was quite decent for dressage and marathon day. We entered in the Single Prelim Pony division (could not do the American Championships since we are not US citizens) and had a bit of a rough go on dressage day. We did some bitting changes to see if he would be a bit happier for marathon day, and after a bit of a rough start, he seemed to be a bit happier and ended up 2nd place overall (we were 5th place after the rough dressage but moved up after marathon and cones). It was so nice to be back in the US, and we had a great time at a new venue as we have never been to those show grounds before. It was a bit of a drive for us at 11hr, but we were able to break it up.

I finished my show year at the Royal Winter Fair where I had 11 classes with my 2 ponies (I was very busy!!). We ended up placing well in our line classes (which were huge - 19 ponies in several of the divisions!!) and won the Ladies to Drive in the big ring on an evening performance. There were 14 ponies in the ring, which is the largest its been in years (the Royal has not happened for the past 2 years due to COVID so entries seemed to be quite up!). There was an accident in the first class, which luckily was contained quickly as it could have been really, really bad. As it was, they did crash into the back of another carriage and almost flipped over, but luckily it did not, but the shaft did break. They brought the pony/carriage out of the ring as we carried on afterwards to finish the class quickly (as the judge is on a tight time restraint). I was quite rattled, but my pony was great and just trucked on like a little pro.

We were 2nd in the 12.2h and over group and ended up Reserve Grand Champion on the second day. It is a tough 4 day indoor show, which the barn is heated and we were stabled upstairs which is a bit quieter with less crowds and nice and warm. A little slower getting to the rings as we have a large ramp to climb (not to mention pushing our carriage up and down the ramp!!). The air is not the greatest quality as its recycled, but the ponies didn’t get sick (but I sure did!!) so I’m grateful for that.

I also picked up my new foal (BPRx welsh mare x warmblood (Hanoverian) at the end of September and I couldnt be happier with him. He seems like he’s going to be a big boy as he’s just over 5 months and 13h right now. I bred for a small horse as his dam is 14h and sire is 17h, but I’m thinking he may end up around the 16h mark. Time will tell and I really don’t mind what size he finishs (though 16h would be pretty neat!).

Glad to have the year done and we had lots of fun this year. Ponies are enjoying their break and are out for about 14hrs a day just relaxing and enjoying each others company.

Here are some random pictures through our show year


Congrats on your great season! Gorgeous ponies and love your Royal set up!

I was watching these classes on the live stream for the Royal and have always been curious how they are judged. What do the judges look for? Or do you have any sources I could read to educate myself on this?

@Jealoushe - Thank you! Takes us about 12hr to do our Royal set up but we do love doing it. Hubby made everything as he is quite handy (and a carpenter!).

For those pleasure classes, there is a bit of a break down in the prize book. Here is the link and the Welsh pony is on page 22.

It really is up to the judge though, and its similar to hunter judging I would say. There of course are rules for certain classes in a “real” pleasure show as its divided up in a reinsmanship (where they judge the driver and can give a pattern), working (how well the animal works), turnout (based on turnout - carriage, harness, total package etc) and usually a “speed” class such as cones or a modified x country. Then they add your points up for division champ/reserve. The Royal is a Welsh/half welsh show, so the break down is a bit different. Its a hard class to judge as you can get 11h section A ponies and 15 + hand section D cobs and everything in between. They all move quite differently and certain judges have preferences. I have found most judges at the Royal prefer the bigger and more harness type movers (such as cobs) with more knee action. This years judge seem to prefer the more hunter type mover, which almost never happens.

For our CDE’s - they are more like eventing where you want lowest score possible, you are out showing on your own, and its based on the driver. You make it or break it (which is why my hubby loves CDE’s. He’s tired of the politics for pleasure driving). I’m not a huge fan of speed when I drive and I like the perfection of Pleasure driving, so I tend to stick to that. I’m a sucker for punishment, what can I say (says the hunter rider…).


It sounds like you folks had an extremely busy year!! Goodness, I am tired reading your post on travels and getting to various shows and competitions! Then the real work to prepare for the ring or CDE phases!! Ha ha The photos are beautiful and ponies look terrific standing and moving. You guys do good work!

Congratulations on all your successes in such good company. Enjoy winter and some rest time.

Apparently I’m a copycat because I just posted a similar thing in Eventing forum. What a bunch of gorgeous photos, so glad to read you had a busy but great year. I need details on the bay with the one hind sock – that expression has me swooning.

Enjoy your winter break. :smile:

Thank you for sharing your insight! For the Royal classes, would they be judging the horses purely on movement, or would things like straightness, rhythm transitions, head carriage, temperament etc be judged in that also?

I know roadsters are a different but I could not figure out what they were looking for with those ones!

@Jealoushe - For the ladies to drive, they would be looking for more of a quieter and pleasurable drive. Something a “lady” could drive with no issues. An animal that isn’t too hot or strong, walks well when asked (not jogging or jigging around), something that stands quietly in the line up, backs easily etc. It is still based on 60% manners and 40% conformation (as in Welsh conformation according to the Section).

The judge should still see straightness, nice crisp transitions (upward and downward), head carriage in a frame (similar to a dressage horse) and a nice turnout (carriage, harness etc. No dirty brass, clean animal, clipped if the Section allows it - as it is a breed class).

For the over and under 12.2h they may allow a little more of a forward drive - something that shows off your pony. If they have a great extended trot - show it off! They may be more lenient in the line up if the animal doesn’t quite stand as well as one should, but again, that is up to the judge. They always will look for a smooth back up, clean and appropriate harness/carriage and again, 60% on manners/way of going (depending on the Section as a Section B or half welsh pony sure moves and looks different than a Section D cob!) and 40 % on conformation. They should still have nice transitions, straightness and nose on the vertical.


@beowulf - Thank you! The bay with one sock is my husbands pony. A 14.2h BRP x Welsh who is 13 years old this year. My family has bred him and is actually the 3rd generation that my husband has driven in this line (he drove the grandsire, a pair of sons and now a single and pair of grandsons - one who is the pony with the one hind sock). The one with the 3 socks is our 2 year old who is a half brother (same sire and grandsire) to the 1 sock pony :slight_smile:

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Gorgeous pics! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
Your ponies are lovely, both standing & in motion.
Your turnouts are droolworthy :drooling_face:
What an awesome end to your Driving year for all!

Any chance you’d like to adopt a Granny & her VSE who aspire to CDE?
We do clean up nicely:

And like to pick up the pace too:


thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

That’s sounds like a great year, and such lovely ponies. I was hoping you would finally make it to Florida this winter.

As usual things are just starting up down this way. I finished up Xan’s USDF breed award at 2nd level over the summer. I’m not sure how much more competitive ridden dressage we will do, it kind of depends on whether he chooses to get a lead change require for 3rd level. He’s perfectly capable of it, he’s also perfectly capable of going through life without one, so it will probably be mostly up to the pony!

I’m up to three sets of 15min trot/3 min walk with an extra 100lbs weights on the carriage (the joys of not having another person). In December I’ll move up to the 30m straight sessions and soon I’ll have to get very serious about cones again. This year I’m going to try to ride 3 days a week as well as the afternoon before or driven test and see how that works out. I always feel like if I go too long without riding, I end up in a failed relationship with the outside rein. Divorce is so ugly! :rofl:

This year the goal is to get my two 1* CTs completed so I can hopefully start on the 2* by fall, so that means 2 of my 4 CDEs will be no marathons. Wah! (1* is a CT format). I also signed up early for 3 DAP clinics this winter so here’s to getting educated!

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Congratulations, what a year! As a fellow Canadian new to driving, I love to hear about your adventures. Beautiful ponies, can you tell us more about them?

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@2DogsFarm - Thank you. And your boy is just too cute for words! I love hearing about your updates and seeing your pictures <3

@Jealoushe - No problem. I’m far from a expert but have been around for a little bit so have picked some things up from here and there…I’m lucky to have a husband so involved and he got me started 20 years ago.

@DMK - we have talks of coming down to Florida. We have been invited to a couple of different farms to stay with some friends. Its becoming more and more interesting for sure. My hubby wants to compete in FL all winter and then come back to Ontario so I can show hunters/jumpers for our summer. Now that would be a perfect world! Maybe one day…We might come down to watch Live Oak this year. Sounds like you have also had a great year :slight_smile: We are planning on Bromont CDE, Orleton Pleasure show in MA, and Tryon CDE in Sept. Would you be going to any of those?

@Bebe_Falcon1 - Thats great to hear you are driving!! Where are you in Canada? What would you like to know about our ponies? My in laws have been breeding Welsh and BRP for over 50 years now, with imported stallions and mares from Wales. They mainly sell as hunter ponies but my husband started pleasure driving with one of the imported stallions 30 years ago. He got tired of the show ring and when he met me 20 years ago, he switched to CDE’s and hasnt looked back. We drove a pair of the stallions sons for about 10 years and now have a pair of grandsons that we just started to drive. They are mixed with BRP and are 14.2h which is a great size for us. I can ride them and we drive them as well :slight_smile:


Live oak and Tryon in September are both on the calendar!

Pro tip for Tryon… It’s just one giant hill and the water hazards can be deep. I train on hills almost all the time and it still wore out my pony… I mean not enough for him to not decide to race his bff going home up a giant hill after we were done, but he came in to the vet check a bit more tired than I thought he would.

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@DMK - Thats good to know! Unfortunately where we live, we have 0 hills. Ontario is very flat. But when we did NJ, it was very hilly and we were also warned with that show, especially since we went from a pair to a single, but our guy handled all the hills and deep water (2 deep water obstacles) like a champ. We will hopefully have our pair showing so it wont be quite to bad for them. Fingers crossed!

Well I’m coming to realize I have a “thing” for ponies, the Welsh and BRP breeds are right up there! Yours are lovely, to see pictures of them turned out so beautifully is like eye candy. I couldn’t help but look up your farm after realizing you were in Ontario - and it turns out I’m only two hours away from you.

And a beautiful set-up at the Royal, what an incredible tradition to have been showing ponies there since 1969. But if some strange, wide-eyed woman shows up next year and starts touching and ogling all the things, it’s probably me :grin:

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Fyi, I noticed Hermitage is applying for FEI in June, that’s a bit closer than Tryon, and it’s Hermitage…

They don’t have camper hook ups though, strictly generators if you stay on the grounds.

We have always wanted to go to Hermitage after meeting them at Bromont many years ago. The only issue with June as we will be at Bromont (end of June) and off to a breed show in NY a week after that so June is crazy busy for us. We are just trying to spread our year out as Tryon is September and can be our last CDE of the year. Tryon is a long drive for us but we are planning on a stop over at KY and then continue the next day. Will be a 16hr drive at least for us! But thank you for the info!