Modern Pleasure … Pretty Is as Pretty Does
The American Shetland Pony Club’s Modern Pleasure Division combines the style and traditions of the exciting Modern American Shetland with an easier approach to showing and an emphasis on manners and behavior. Although the pleasure division itself is one of the ASPC’s newer divisions, it’s built around a long-standing tradition of pleasure driving animals that have been found in many society show horse breeds.
A Modern Pleasure Shetland might be just the pony for those interested in the style and pizzazz of a Modern but who might be intimidated by the care, training and shoeing required for ponies in that division. A Modern Pleasure Pony should be pretty, well-balanced and animated with an emphasis on excellent manners. Ponies in this division must be well behaved and manners are a key component for Modern Pleasure American Shetlands.
When pleasure first made its debut in the American Shetland Pony Club, it was limited to a single pleasure driving class. Today, following the creation of the Modern Pleasure division, there are many, many options for showing these types of American Shetlands. First, Modern Pleasure offers a full complement of halter and breeding classes. Additionally, there are many driving classes. For several years, the Modern Pleasure division featured two separate driving divisions: Formal and Country. Formal Pleasure was for a more animated pony with more extreme carriage while Country featured a more balanced approach to headset and less extreme animation. Ponies in both divisions must be willing and have good manners. Pleasure ponies, regardless of the division, should be a pleasure to watch and to drive.
Recently, the Modern Pleasure committee recommended that the “formal” division be moved back into the Modern division since ponies competing in area often exhibit more animation and brilliance along with displaying higher headsets and more extreme carriage. Modern Pleasure Halter and the Country Pleasure division are being maintained under the Modern Pleasure umbrella. Originally, the committee’s proposal was to create another driving option within the Pleasure division so that Modern Pleasure fans would continue to have two driving options under the auspices of “Modern Pleasure” in addition to the separate formal driving pleasure option under Modern open. Plans for all changes are still being fleshed out and will be dependent on future approval and acceptance by the association’s members and national board.
Modern Pleasure halter offers a good starting point for individuals who might want to get started with fun and flashy Moderns. A Modern Pleasure Halter pony should have a pretty head with a long, slender neck coming high out of the animal’s shoulder. These ponies should have a level top line with a high tail set. Modern Pleasure halter animals’ motion should be well animated but not extreme.
With easier shoeing options and the option of showing in a more relaxed manner “off the rail” in halter combined with the emphasis on manners, Modern Pleasure ponies are well suited to amateurs and youth or other non-professional handlers. A variety of halter driving classes exist for Modern Pleasure ponies and they often excel in classes such as costume and obstacle in handle.