Many amateur riders have complained about a lack of appropriate divisions for the “in-between size” horses. The market for sport ponies and 16.0hh+ horses is well established, however there is a huge gap for horses that do not fit into those categories.
While some argue that the reason “mid-size” horses do not fit easily into the show ring is because they are unable to make the distances to make them successful. However, the reality is that not all riders are suited to large, big-moving horses. Many feel more comfortable on a horse that takes up their leg without feeling like they are being overpowered.
Breeder P. Wynn Norman, owner of Sportponies Unlimited and breeder of the late eventing sport-pony Theodore O’Connor, feels strongly about the need for a division that could draw large crowds for riders on mid-sized horses.
She says on the Sportponies Unlimited website:
“….debates about heights, distances and qualifications are all part of the sport’s “big picture.” In an ideal world, decisions about such things would reflect the philosophy, mission and vision of the sport and its leadership. Indeed, I argue that a sport’s national governing body should be philosophically, as well as financially, sound. And I wonder if anyone in USEF (The United States Equestrian Federation, the national governing body of equestrian sports) ever addresses the big picture, such as that illustrated by this big, gaping hole?”