When it comes to competition, the Hackney Pony is actually divided into four distinct types. These types differ in terms of size, the type of discipline shown in the ring, as well as mane and tail appearance. Each of the four types, being Cob Pony, Harness Pony, Road Pony and Pleasure Pony, are different and are dynamic in their own ways in the show ring. As these versatile ponies are mostly bred for competition today, and many ponies may be eligible for more than one class, breeders, owners and trainers should work together to decide which class will be best for an up and coming pony. Here we'll take a closer look at the four types of Hackney Pony.
The Cob Tail division, which is also known as the Hackney Pony or Hackney Cob Tail Division, is open to those ponies that measure 14.2 hands or less at the withers. These ponies are required to be shown with a braided mane and a shortened tail, usually trimmed quite short. Hackney Ponies must be shown to a viceroy, which is an open carriage for one person with four large wheels. Pairs can also be seen in this division. The Cob Tail division is considered to be highly competitive and classes include Open and Amateur, including Ladies, Gentlemen and Junior Exhibitor.
In order to be eligible for the Harness Pony, also called the Long Tail, division, ponies must stand 12.2 hands or under at the withers. These ponies must be shown with both a long mane and long tail. Much like the Hackney Cob Tail division, this class must be shown at the four wheeled viceroy and can also be seen in pairs. This division is also considered to be very competitive, with classes including Open, Amateur, Ladies, Gentlemen and Junior Exhibitor.
The Hackney Roadsters are those ponies that are built for speed! Roadster Ponies must be 13 hands or smaller and are typically seen with long manes and tails. These ponies are shown at a two wheeled road bike and their riders are required to wear racing silks. The Hackney Roadster is shown at three trotting speeds: the jog-trot, road gait, and at speed. Junior Exhibitors may also show these ponies while wearing racing silks. A division that has recently been added to this group is the Roadster Pony to Wagon, in which the road pony is attached to what is called a miniature doctor's buggy. The three classes for Roadsters are Open, Amateur and Junior Exhibitor.
Finally, the Pleasure Pony is the most recently added of the four main Hackney Pony divisions. These ponies must be 14.2 hands or under at the withers and may be shown as either cob tail or as long tail with unbraided manes. Pleasure Ponies must be attached to an appropriate pleasure vehicle and be prepared to show at a pleasure trot, road trot and flat walk. They are also required to stand quietly in line with other Pleasure Ponies and be able to back when asked. This division is open only Amateurs, further divided into Ladies, Gentlemen and Junior Exhibitors.