Assessment Tour Guidelines
How do I present for an Assessment?
The pony should be clean and tidy.
Plaiting is optional but preferred if possible. You are trying to present your pony in it’s best possible light.
Handler must wear appropriate footwear and should also be clean and tidy. A good pair of pants or joddies and neat polo type shirt is more than acceptable.
Riders must also wear neat and tidy apparel plus an approved helmet and boots.
Bandages/boots may be used in the free movement and jumping phases of the assessment.
Ensure that the reins/lead can be removed quickly from the bridle/halter for the free movement and jumping phases.
If you are considering booking your pony in for assessment at an ASPR Assessment Tour, the following guidelines may help you to understand what is expected and what the assessors are looking for.
The Assessors are more than willing to talk to pony owners following each assessment and explain the reasons behind their scoring and comments, always remembering that our ponies are being assessed in line with an international standard for sports ponies.
In the conformation inspection, the assessors don’t want to see the pony stood up as in a show ring line-up – the pony should be relaxed, happy in his surroundings and standing still so that his conformation can be scored. The pony should be presented clean and tidy; plaiting is optional.
Assessors want to see a pony with a good free walk with over-tracking and swing. Pony owners should ensure that their pony is educated to walk in hand with a relatively long rein and most importantly, forward and in a straight line.
When the pony is assessed at liberty, he will be scored on his trot and canter. It is recommended that your pony is experienced and comfortable in attending new venues and is easy to catch. The at liberty section provides the assessors with the best view of the movement so it is advantageous to put in some practice at liberty prior to the assessment day. Ensure the pony is used to being loose in an arena or small paddock with a number of people moving around him to encourage trot and canter.
If you choose to have your pony assessed free jumping, the assessment is carried out in a lane with two to three jumps. If you don’t normally jump your pony you will need to put in a good amount of practice in the weeks leading up to the assessment date. The pony must be completely familiar with free jumping and a handler running the jump and catching the pony at the end. The pony is stopped after each circuit in order to raise the jumps – they do not start at the highest level. It is expected that most ponies can free jump up to approximately 1 metre. In free jumping the assessors want to see the pony’s willingness to jump plus his scope and bascule.
If you normally jump your pony under saddle but are not confident in riding him over a 1 metre high oxer or similar obstacle, then it is recommended that you free jump the pony instead. There is no penalty for doing this as there are many ponies that can jump far higher than their riders are sometimes willing to take them!
In the ridden assessment, it is recommended that the pony be educated to at least a Novice level of education. Older and more experienced ponies are expected to have a higher level of education. The assessors want to see good, even forward movement in the trot and canter with a pony that looks both trainable and rideable.
The pony must show good swing through the back and looseness in the movement. No higher level movements (eg: lateral etc) are asked for - if the pony cannot show the required swing and looseness in his trot and canter, then he will certainly not do it in any lengthened work. A good medium walk and a free walk on a long rein is extremely important and is marked accordingly. The assessors want to see a pony that CAN walk with good over track and lowering of the head and neck, and with a relaxed demeanor. The actual workout is carried out in a rectangular pattern with changes of rein, as in a dressage arena.
Foals presented for Preliminary assessment are not led in hand. The foal is assessed while running loose beside the dam.
2017 National Open Assessment Tour E-magazine