The Grand National (Pony Style)

Is it that kids have no fear? Or are they just so close to the ground already that they don’t worry about falling off? Whatever the reason, the Shetland Pony Grand National is just too cute!

The Shetland Grand National was first run in 1981 and was created to benefit charities. Money is raised through individuals or companies who sponsor the ponies and the money goes directly to the charity. More than $500,000 has been raised to date. The races are two-and-a-half laps around a ring over fences that are no more than 2′ high. The total length of the race depends on the size of the ring.

Participation in the event is restricted to registered Shetland ponies and riders between the ages of 9 to 13 and who are no taller than 5’1″. There are only 10 runners so aspiring racers must qualify for one of the coveted places. First, they must compete for a year in jumping, dressage and eventing events. After that year they can start the qualifying process (to race in the Grand National each child must win one race) which begins each year in May at Windsor. There, 40 riders try to prove to the judges that they can control their ponies at top speed and over jumps. Over the course of the qualifying season, that number is whittled down to 10.

I’m not sure I was ever small enough to ride a Shetland pony but wow, does that look like fun!

4 thoughts on “The Grand National (Pony Style)

  1. That was great! Noticed the ponies were clipped too, since you wrote about it in your previous post. I am glad that there is such a thorough process for entering the race–isn’t it nice when things are done wisely, especially around horses.

  2. Shetland ponies! Actually doing work under saddle! TRAINED. The shock is nearly too much for me. Do we just not train them properly for riding in the U.S. or am I way out of the loop? What a wonderful video, and nice riding by the young equestrians. Made my day.


    My pony would have a heart attack – work!? What is that? Although if she saw another pony getting attention she would do it out of jealousy – that’s the best way to get her to take wormer too… 😀

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