The American Show Pony is another uniquely American society pony under the umbrella of the American Shetland Pony Club, Inc.
Today’s ASPR pony harkens back to the former Harness Show Pony division offered by ASPC, Inc., starting before the mid-1900s. That bygone harness division offered a place for the following to compete:
Shetlands which grew beyond that breed’s height limit, small Hackneys and crosses between Hackneys and Shetlands. With an emphasis on motion and performance and offering competition up to 48”, today’s American Show Pony does much the same. Superb carriage, animated gait and overall brilliance are the hallmarks of today’s American Show Ponies, making them similar to both the Modern Shetland and Hackney pony. In fact, both of those ponies play a role in the ASPR today.
The following can qualify to be registered as an American Show Pony with the ASPC:
- A registered American Shetland. Many animated Moderns fit the ASPR mold and can, in fact, be double registered in the ASPR. When the ASPR was created in 1995, offering a place for Modern Shetlands that grew beyond the 46” Shetland height limit was a prime consideration when the ASPR creators set the division’s height at 48”.
- A registered Hackney Pony. The small Hackney is ideal for cross-registration into the ASPR. Since the American Hackney Horse Society increased their own height limits, the ASPR offers a perfect place for small Hackneys to compete. With ASPR classes offered at ASPC shows across the country, competition opportunities abound.
- A foal resulting from a cross between a registered Shetland and a registered Hackney. For many years, the ASPC allowed a Shetland x Hackney cross to be registered as a “B” division Shetland, with those offspring incorporating into Modern Shetland programs across the country. However, when the ASPC moved to completely close its registry in the mid-1990s, breeders using these same crosses were left with no place to go. The re-invigoration of the old Harness Pony concept through the creation of the American Show Pony Registry gave these crosses a legitimate place to be recognized and to compete.
- With the growth of the ASPR since its creation in November of 1995, now foals resulting from the cross of two ASPR-registered parents also results in a pony eligible for registration as an American Show Pony.
Since it encompasses large Moderns and small Hackneys, the American Show Pony Registry accommodates a whole subset of graceful, dynamic and breath-taking ponies that might otherwise be unserved. These larger, flashy ponies are especially suited to driving and performance and, more recently, have caught much attention with impressive performances under saddle.
As part of the American Shetland Pony Club, ASPR has both local and national championship level competitions for American Show Ponies. Additionally, ASPR’s unique accomplishments are recognized through several special national show and year-end awards.