Dressage pony classes

I have a pony and am curious about getting her measured for her official pony card. But my question is regarding pony classes at rated dressage shows… Are ponies judged any differently in these pony classes than they would be in the standard classes? Ie if I had the same exact ride and judge in a Training 3 Pony class vs the standard Training 3 class, would my score be any different from one class to the other?

I wouldn’t be entering the pony classes to qualify for pony nationals, so if that’s not my goal I’m wondering if I should bother… Vs just continuing to show my pony with the “big horses” in the regular classes which is what I’ve done for years now :slight_smile:

I know there are less riders in the pony classes at the shows near me so yeah I could theoretically have a better chance at a higher placing in a smaller class, but I’m not as interested in placings, I care more about my actual score % than what color ribbon I might get :wink:


Having ridden in both this year, my scores and comments were no different in AA vs Pony. I choose Pony when I see it offered because I want to encourage organizers to offer the division. Like you, I care way more about scores than ribbons, so I don’t care either way, but it is nice to know I’m not showing against big moving WBs for once.

The only shows where it makes a difference are National Dressage Pony Cup sanctioned shows, which show organizers can pay $35 to receive pony high point/reserve high point ribbons. I earned two earlier this year, and they’re REALLY nice ribbons for as little as the shows have to pay, almost 3 feet long and nice quality. Those are given out solely based on the results of pony-only classes, and you don’t have to be an NDPC member to win them. Again, something I wish more shows offered.


When i get around to it, i have two ponies that i would like to show in pony dressage. I just really like the idea of back-to-back ponies, one right after the other in the ring. I think it would help onlookers to be able to recognize the individual pony without the arresting image of a big mover looming in the mindseye as comparison. But then, i’m more of an equine generalist than a specific-breed for specific job sort of person.
As-for ribbons/trophies…is it a thing in dressage to donate them back to the sponsoring club or would that be rude? (dog-world problem for me…too many boxes of them in the attic that i don’t feel right about throwing away, but no desire to display either)


That’s pretty neat about the high point and reserve ribbons! Now THOSE I would work harder to receive lol you can do all kinds of neat stuff with those big fancy ribbons! :grin:

Yeah! You should also look into the National Dressage Pony Cup itself, you don’t need to qualify for it or anything, you just show up and show your pony. The big show is in St. Louis again next year in July, although I think there’s a west coast championship now too. There are neck ribbons for 1st-6th in each division, and it’s just so fun to see a Dressage complex full of ponies every year! They really go all out to make pony riders of all ages feel special at it, I enjoy it.


That’s awesome!

The Pony division classes are generally run along with the other divisions, so everyone riding Second level ride together. Though generally not all the AA, all the Open, etc in order so a mix of the divisions of everyone riding that particular test. I try to enter one Pony division per show to support NDPC and so our local shows continue to offer the division.



oh. well bummer.

While some organizations/hosts may run regular classes then award ribbons to ponies who competed during the show, our regional GMO is a partner series this year and has offered dressage pony TOC classes at 3 of their 4 shows. There have been GRPs, BRPs, unknown breeding, Connemara and welsh cobs showing Training to PSG in the classes this year, with the NDPC champion & reserve ribbons awarded in addition to the host organization’s class ribbons.
The GMO indicated there will be a year-end program for the entrants who participated in those classes at the different shows but this is the first year so not sure how it would be structured.
At our GMO’s shows with NDPC TOC classes, all of the riders who did tests in the NDPC TOC classes also did “regular” test classes at their respective levels. My personal reason for entering “regular” AND pony classes at the same shows was that when I did pony division DSHB a couple years ago, scores did not count towards the GMO’s open DSHB year-ends because they were considered restricted classes- I just liked the idea of having eggs in more than one basket with under saddle scores this year.
As a partner series, the scores earned at our GMO’s NDPC TOC classes were used in the rankings for NDPC year-ends. By then joining NDPC, my scores from other shows are averaged in addition to the NDPC TOC-specific classes. While my pony & I aren’t pulling top scores, I entered the classes and joined NDPC because I like that they’re working to promote.


I love NDPC, and every pony/small horse rider should take advantage and support them.

Generally I only go to shows that offer NDPC classes, which is most of them in my area and typically I only enter pony classes unless I need another ride. As others have said, it’s the scores and comments that matter most, but my feeling is a pretty ribbon is no bad thing after paying my money and NDPC has lovely ribbons! And when we are in a pony class, at least I am judged against other ponies which is kind of nice given the comments/scores are pretty much the same regardless.

The only difference with NDPC is the class is combined, all levels, with their own weighting. It’s not better or worse, just different.


Thanks for all the info everyone! Sounds like something I should go get her measured for and start entering!

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