If you'd rather just look at pictures without my commentary then may I direct you to my photoset on Flickr? I hate how they've changed the layout so apologies for it taking forever!
I'm putting the next part of this post under the cut as I took looooooads of photos and it'll absolutely kill the blog if they're all on show so click below to see lots of purdy ponies and whatnot. :D
I went again on Friday after a week of feeling awful thanks to a tremendously horrible headcold that I still have to this day. Normally I go to the show on the weekends but decided to see what the Friday was like instead as it was bound to be a lot less crowded and I'd see different things as there were more in hand classes than on the other days.
Thanks to the unmitigated disaster that was my journey there last year, I decided not to take the train to Edinburgh as it took ages and even then I needed to get a bus to the showground which took even longer and urgh, hassle. Luckily, I discovered that there was a shuttle bus that went direct to the showground from the centre of Glasgow and having bought my tickets online, this all meant that I just needed to show my printed out ticket at the gate when I arrived and all was well! I'll definitely be doing the same again next year as it made everything so much easier.
For anyone who knows me, early mornings really aren't my thing but I sacrificed a nice lie in so I could be at the show in the morning and catch the native ponies being shown in hand. I ended up being a little later than I'd intended but I still made it there before 11 o'clock which was pretty good going considering the fact that last year I was probably still in the house at that time. XD
According to the official timetable from their website I should have missed out on several of the classes I'd been hoping to see but, luckily, whether through dodgy timekeeping on their part or a change in schedule, I was able to watch almost all of the Welsh Sec B, Connemaras, Highlands and Arab/PB Arab classes!
First up was my favourite of all the native breeds, the Highland Pony. This class was timetabled to start sharp at 7:45am but it was still going on at about quarter to eleven so I'm assuming things had been tweaked a bit!
While I generally prefer duns, the greys like the one in the photo above were absolutely gorgeous.
This was the confirmation phase I think, where they're all untacked and trotted up for the judge, then tacked up again and ridden round.
One thing I always love about Native classes is the choice of tack - a nice thick plain noseband, no fancy stitching or flashy browbands, just good old fashioned workmanlike tack.
The very worthy (and obviously chuffed!) winners!
I'd never noticed it before but the winner's sash has a little tassel in the middle. XD
Reserve Champion. (I think!)
After that, in a different ring, were the ridden Eriskay ponies. Now, I don't think I've ever seen Eriskays in person before, at least I don't think I have. (My old favourite riding school pony Suki looks a hell of a lot like one though so maybe...)
Eriskays very nearly became extinct forty years ago but numbers are beginning to climb again (around 300!) so hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more of them in future.
http://news.stv.tv/highlands-islands/215698-eriskay-ponies-no-longer-endangered-after-breeding-success/ - Nice wee video of some of them. :)
They are the only remaining type of truly native pony; all others having been 'refined' and crossbred over the years to improve their type or conformation. The Eriskay is now only found in the Outer Hebrides/Western Isles and is markedly different to its close relation, the Highland. They stand at 10hh-13.2hh and are a lot less chunky and cob like than the Highlands. The ones in the ring on Friday were also typical 'Thelwellian' ponies as most of them were trotting about with their heads in the air and one actually stopped mid trot and refused to move on for a good minute. XD
I took loads of this grey as, well, just look at those dapples!
That's the one who stopped. XD