The Fell Pony Society
Judging & Showing Guidelines

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Judging Guidelines

Guidelines amended 2019

1. A judge must be a member of the Fell Pony Society.

2. A judge should always remember that it is a great honour to be invited to judge at a show. He/she should reply promptly to any invitation to judge.

3. Any judge who feels unable to judge any class in the schedule should inform the show secretary well in advance of the show.

4. A judge should arrive at a show at least half an hour before the commencement of classes.

5. All judges should be neatly and appropriately dressed when judging.

6. As an officer of the Society a judge should act in a courteous and considerate manner both inside and outside the ring.

7. A judge should not accept more than six invitations in one year, to judge Fell classes on behalf of the Society.

8. Judges on the Society's panel should exercise discretion in accepting invitations to judge the same type of class in the same area in any one year, preferably not judging two shows within 40 miles of each other in the same year.

9. Judges must not canvas for judging appointments.

10. All judges must attend at least one Fell Pony Society judges Conference/Study Day every five years, to keep themselves up to date and aware of judging issues and the Breed Standard. Judges who fail to attend may be removed from the Judges Panel at the FPS Council’s discretion.

11. Judges may be accompanied in the ring only by a person or persons appointed by the show, or by one of the Society's probationer judges. Judges must not have as a Steward any person who has a member of their family competing in the same ring.

12. Judges must not have access to a catalogue prior to judging but may have access to a schedule and appropriate Rule Book.

13. A judge should try to avoid meeting all exhibitors, their helpers and ponies on the day/s of the show prior to entering the show ring in which he or she is to judge.

14. Judges should remember that each competitor pays the same entry fee and therefore merits the courtesy of having his/her pony inspected.

15. No contact should be made between the judge and the spectators between the time when judging begins and ends.

16. A judge must not use any mobile devices, smoke or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances whilst in the ring.

17. A judge should not call any exhibitor by his/her first name in the ring, or engage exhibitors in conversation relating to the breeding, name or ownership of a pony during judging. If a competitor wishes to talk to the judge, he/she should be encouraged to do so outside the ring, after judging is completed.

18. A judge may not judge a class in which to his/her knowledge a pony bred, sold, leased, or produced by the judge, or his/her immediate family or employer is exhibited. A judge may not judge a pony in which he/she has a financial interest (stud fees and farrier fees are excluded). Should this situation arise, a referee, preferably on the appropriate panel of judges, should be appointed by the show secretary to place the pony in question
in its position in the class.

19. If in the opinion of the judge any pony entered for any class he/she must judge, is unsound, the judge may, at his/her discretion, require the exhibitor to withdraw the pony from the class, subject to the right of the exhibitor to refer the matter to a veterinary surgeon if one should be in attendance. If no vet is available, the judge's decision is final.

20. Judges should request any competitor whose pony appears to be a danger to others to leave the ring, and ensure that in large classes (especially ridden stallions) the ponies are lined up in a position which affords maximum space and minimum danger to competitors.

21. If a judge has reasonable grounds to believe that the rules of the FPS are being contravened then the judge must ask the rider/handler to remove the pony from the ring. (eg False hair or falsification of markings on a pony, use of make up). The incident should also be reported to the show concerned and the Fell Pony Society without delay.

22. A judge must not express their views on specific animals/exhibitors/judges or their judgement via any form of social media.

23. Judges should at all times remember that they are judging Fell Pony Breed classes and therefore the essential Breed Type as emphasised under the heading General Characters in the Breed Standard must be foremost in their priorities. A Judge should be able to relate the written word to the actual pony and be proficient in recognising faults such as cow and sickle hocks and the difference between round and flat bone.

24. When judging In Hand, Ridden or Working Hunter qualifiers under Ponies (UK), NPS or BSPS rules, judges must be aware of any rules of these associations in addition to Fell Pony Society Rules.

Ponies General

25. Ponies to be shown unplaited and untrimmed, including head and face, mane and tail, which should not have been previously plaited as the hair should be straight and silky.

26. Ponies may be shod or unshod.

27. White rope or webbing halters may be used to show the youngstock, brood-mares and geldings in hand. Foals to be haltered and led. Stallions and colts 2 years old and over should be shown in a leather show halter or bridle and under the control of a handler aged 14 or over. Stallion tack is optional. Yearlings may not be shown bitted.

28. Brood mares suckling foals not to be shown under saddle or in harness.

29. Eye make-up and hair dyeing is not allowed.

30. Clipping of winter coats on working ponies whilst not encouraged for showing is not debarred.

31. Ponies not to be penalised if they have been freeze-branded.

Fell Pony Ridden Classes

32. Ridden Ponies to be judged 50% conformation and breed characteristics and 50% ride, manners and presentation in ring.

33. Before accepting invitations to judge ridden classes, judges should be sure that they understand the basic requirements of a ridden show and are able to recognise when a pony leads on the incorrect leg. etc.

34. When judging ridden classes, unless specified in the schedule that it is a traditional class, judges should expect to see a pony walk, trot, canter and sometimes extend.

35. In the ridden show it should be remembered the Fell is a mountain and moorland pony and its way of going is not that expected of a hack or riding pony. An active, ground-covering walk is required, as is a forceful trot. The latter is generally regarded as the Fell pony's "true" pace and as such should demonstrate both good knee and hock action. At the canter, whilst many Fell ponies are well-balanced and collected, it is to be expected that they will be heavier on the forehand than some of our lighter breeds.

36. Riders should be correctly attired for Ridden Mountain and Moorland classes, with correctly fitting hard hat. Whilst there are no written rules regarding turnout, it is generally felt that tack similar to that befitting a hunter is most suitable. A tweed jacket, for example, is usually recommended.

37. Spurs are not allowed and show canes should not exceed 30".

38. Novice and First Ridden ponies should be fitted with a suitable bit.

39. As some shows are now putting on First Ridden and even Lead Rein classes for Fell Ponies, judges should be aware of the requirements of these classes. Competitors in Lead Rein, First Ridden and Traditional classes should be asked only to walk and trot when initially going round the ring. It is up to the Competitor, if they wish, to canter during their individual show. Judges should be aware of the difference in tack allowed in these classes compared with Open ridden classes.

40. Judges must not handle or attempt to pick up the feet of a pony whilst it is mounted.

Working Hunter Classes

41. In working hunter classes the jumping style should be that of a pony out hunting, (i.e. smooth, fluent, free flowing and at a reasonable speed) rather than in the manner of a show jumper.

Driving Classes

42. Judging of Driving classes to conform to British Driving Society Standards.


43. ALL JUDGES WILL BE EXPECTED TO TAKE PROBATIONERS FOR ASSESSMENT. Newly appointed judges are not permitted to take probationers until the return of their signed ‘Attended Shows Booklet’, which allows removal of their asterisk.

44. Any judge who judges at a show at which a probationer judge has been accepted should fill in his/her report promptly, as failure to do this may delay a probationer judge's progression. Reports are confidential and should give an honest and accurate report of the judges’ opinion of the probationer judge as a future panel judge of the society. Reports should be submitted direct to the Probationer Judge's Scheme secretary. Under no circumstances should they be handed to the probationer judge to submit.

45. Newly appointed judges will be marked on the Judges List by an asterisk*. The asterisk can only be removed once they have judged 3 shows. During this time they may not accept any invitation to judge classes on the Society's behalf at any of the following shows: Fell Pony Breed Show, Stallion Show, Southern Show and the Great Yorkshire Show. The Judges Panel will be reviewed annually by the Council.

July 2019

FPS Probationer Scheme

These documents may be reproduced in their entirety but may not be edited - all references to this document in publications must go to the Fell Pony Society, UK.