Meet the Children’s Riding Pony of the Year Ride Judge

Manchester-based Joanne Dean will be assessing the shows given by all the hopeful competitors in the Children’s Riding Pony of the Year section.

Joanne does not come from a ‘horsey’ background. However, she explains: “I was determined as a young child that I could convince my dad to buy me a pony, which he eventually did. My mum still says she’s waiting for me to grow out of it, 52 years later!”

During her own time in the ring, Joanne competed in small hack and Partbred Arab classes, but later decided to sell her own gelding and concentrate on the plaited ponies for her niece.

She said: “We enjoyed success from lead rein right through to 148cms, including wins at the Royal International Horse Show, and lots of major county shows.  As home-produced competitors, we were really happy with two second places at HOYS.

“As my niece grew up and moved on from horses, my daughter Ellie, thankfully became very interested! We campaigned with the plaited ponies once more, but she always wanted a hairy and finally, when Ellie was 17, I gave in, and we went to the dark (and hairy!) side. We now love our Fells, and this is what we are currently competing. It’s really exciting and fun to get involved with a very different type.”

Joanne is a BSPS Star judge, and she also sits on a several other panels including UKP&H, SSADL, NCPA and TSR.

“I have now been judging for over 20 years and have had the privilege to judge at prestigious shows such as RIHS, the Royal Welsh, Royal Windsor, Royal Suffolk to name but a few. I have also judged at Barastoc Horse of the Year show in Australia which I will never forget; it was a trip of a lifetime.

This will be my third time judging at HOYS, and I am truly honoured to be asked to return again to the NEC.”

Alongside her day job and judging commitments, Joanne is a BHS Accredited Professional Coach. “I love helping riders to grow in confidence and unlock the potential for themselves and their horses, it’s so rewarding,” she said. “I am a big believer in wanting to give something back to the showing community and for many years I was part of BSPS Area 2A committee including a position as vice-chair.  I then was asked to take over the role of chief steward for the light horse section at The Royal Cheshire Show after shadowing Christine Newton for a few years. This will be my first-year solo, I have big shoes to fill as she deservedly retires but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

What will Joanne be looking for?

She’ll be searching for presence, and wants to see combinations “walk in that ring like you own it!” As for the show, she’ll be wanting “a beautiful well executed show,” and urges riders to “allow the pony to move in its natural rhythm.” And lastly, “please look like you are enjoying it!”

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