Despite the Hackney Pony's humble beginnings of living year round on the harsh moors of Southern England, this versatile pony today is primarily bred for competition, and what a wide range of competition! In the United States alone, there are dozens of competitions open to the Hackney Pony, whether it is a weanling or a seasoned professional. They can participate in both breed competitions and open competitions, where they can pit their performances against other pony breeds. Even in its native England, the Hackney Pony can participate in the eagerly awaited National Breed Show.
In America, the National Breeders Hackney Futurity is open to those offspring of nominated stallions and mares. For conformation only, ponies may be show as early as weanlings, while three year olds may begin showing as one of the four main pony types. The pony division of the futurity is held every year at the Ohio State Fair Horse Show in July. This show has become very popular with owners and breeders thanks to the national recognition, earning potential and prizes available.
The United Professional Horsemen's Association Hackney Pony Classic is a competition for those ponies four years old and younger that compete as Hackney, harness, roadster or pleasure types. Ponies first compete on a local level and the first through sixth places are eligible to compete at the national level. Because the fees are relatively small (an annual fifty dollar eligibility fee plus the horse show entry fee), this competition attracts a wide variety of owners and breeders. The Championships are held in November in Kansas City, Missouri at the American Royal Horse Show.
The American Hackney Horse Society's Youth Medallion Series is open to those riders aged eighteen years or younger in a wide variety of disciplines, including Roadster Pony, Roadster Under Saddle, Pleasure Driving Pony, Pleasure Pony Under Saddle and Youth Hackney/Harness Combination. These riders compete in local classes and then can become eligible to compete on the national level. The National Medallion Championship Finals are also held at the American Royal Horse Show in Kansas City.
The American Hackney Horse Society also offers an Open Competition Program that seeks to award those ponies that succeed in competition against ponies of other breeds. In order to be eligible, the pony must be registered with the AHHS as well as the owner and riders. Because Hackneys are still considered to be relatively rare in the United States and most people learn about these versatile ponies through word of mouth or an open shows, this program lets the Hackney community recognize the breed's best ambassadors.
There are several open competitions available to the Hackney Pony, not the least of which is the United States Dressage Federation's All Breeds Program. Their Breeder of the Year program is also very popular, thanks to the fact that both large and small breeders can compete against each other on the same scale.
Finally, enthusiasts and owners alike always look forward to the Hackney Horse Society's National Breed Show in its native country of England. Don't let the "horse" title throw you, as both Hackney ponies and horses are welcome to participate. This week-long event features two days of in-hand classes and the rest of the week is dedicated harness classes.