Welsh ponies will once again grace the show ring on Virden’s agricultural grounds as exhibiters are happy to have a show to attend, finally. The Manitoba Welsh Pony & Cob Association (MWPCA) is holding their 45th Annual All Welsh Show this weekend, Sept. 4 and 5.
The show is usually held in Virden on the July 1 weekend, but due to COVID-19, this show date was cancelled for two consecutive Canada Day weekends in 2020 and again this year.
Now, however the club plans to catch up.
President of the association Marg Allen says, “There’s not been many shows. They’re glad to come. Right now, we haven’t seen anybody (in MWPCA) for two years.”
The club sprang into action when Manitoba loosened restrictions at the end of July. “The definite decision wasn’t made until August 1.”
Horse owners are always eager to see each other’s equines and share stable talk. Allen says the social part is important for Welsh Pony owners. “We have a good time.”
However, the show is competitive and judge Hillary Howran from Peterborough, Ont. is an approved judge from the Canadian Welsh Pony Association.
There are three pony stables coming from Alberta, two of whom are new to the Manitoba show, and two stables are from Saskatchewan as well. All in all, 30 entries.
The food concession will be open, catered by local people.
You will see ponies entered in multiple classes in this versatile breed. There will be line classes including foal classes, to performance ponies.
Because this is a breed show there will be opportunity to see some of the best Welsh ponies in Canada at this show. The ponies range from the smallest version termed Section A who must be under 12.2 hands or 50 inches, then the larger section B and on up to Section C Cobs and Section D horse sized Welsh, although they are not common at this show.
There will be harness and riding classes and even couple of entries in the Liberty class where the pony will show its natural beauty through several gaits at liberty for two minutes before being caught by the owner.
As well as classes for children, there are some special riding classes: Family Pleasure Riding, Best Matched Saddle Pair and a Champion Riding class.
Some unique classes include bareback riding which may include a water class (with a full glass of water) and a paper class where the bareback rider must carry a paper between their leg and their mount. Costume classes are always popular.
Saturday evening there’s barrel racing, pole bending, and reining. Allen said of the gymkhana classes, “we just call them the fun classes.
The Manitoba Welsh Pony & Cob Association was founded in 1975 to promote and develop the Welsh pony breed. The membership includes people from Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and North Dakota.