Meet The Judge: Richard Miller

Many of this year’s HOYS judges have their work cut out with more than one section to judge. One of those is Richard Miller, who will be presiding over the Mini Show Pony of the Year title, as well as being responsible for the ride marks allocated in the Ridden Partbred Pony of the Year. We caught up with Richard to find out more about him and what he will be looking for in the ring…

Born and raised in the South West of England, Richard now calls a corner of Carmarthenshire home, and shares the breeding of Welsh Mountain Ponies and Welsh Ponies under the Heniarth prefix with partner Meirion Davies, so you might be surprised to find him judging plaited ponies.

However, having worked as a stud groom for several establishments in the UK and North America, Richard has a wealth of experience with many breeds and types of ponies, breeding and producing them for the show ring, in-hand, under saddle as well as in harness.

Richards judging career commenced back in 1984 when he was selected as the National Pony Society/Lloyds Bank Young Judge of the Year which led to him being appointed to the National Pony Society Riding Pony breeding judging panel in 1986. He currently sits on various panels for the National Pony Society, British Show Pony Society, Welsh Pony and Cob Society and the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society.  “I have been lucky to travel the World with my judging career,” Richard says, with appointments throughout the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and South Africa at the highest level as well as officiating finals at the Horse of the Year Show in 2002 and the Royal International Horse Show in 2013. In other words, he’s not only an experienced judge, but he also has ‘previous’ judging at HOYS itself.

“Nothing gives me more pleasure than to find what I consider to be a star in the making when judging youngstock classes,” Richard explains. “Following their careers through to the pinnacle of their success at the Horse of the Year Show can be very satisfying, appreciating how their bloodlines have shaped them into what they are as mature animals”.

What will Richard be looking for?

“Obviously, the ponies in front of me at HOYS will have been selected as the cream from the classes of 2022 so it will come down to my personal preference on their basic conformation, though above all else I hope that the mini classes present me with a pleasing, safe, happy picture with animals full of “pony” character competing in a relaxed manner for their young riders, as best the atmosphere allows. As ride judge in the Part-bred, class I hope the jockeys use this unique appearance to really pull out all the stops and muster up as much ‘showmanship’ as they’ve learnt to win me over to secure a high mark.

“One thing both myself and the competitors will have in common on the day is our appreciation at taking part in the greatest ridden show on earth. I hope they will enjoy the experience as much as I will.

“Good luck!”

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