THE working hunter committee of the Irish Pony Society has announced the dates and venues for the 2023 Sports Pony Challenge which takes on special significance this year as the European working hunter pony championships returns to the international calendar.

The European competition, which is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, August 8th and 9th at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre in West Lothian, uses the same three-phase format as the SPC (dressage, working hunter and show jumping) which will thus provide an opportunity to train for selection for the championships as well as the eventing season.

The Challenge comprises three qualifiers and a final with classes being staged for all IPS working hunter heights, two Connemara classes, plus a novice class for less experienced ponies and a starter stakes for younger children. Substantial prize-money will be awarded to those successful at the Final while rugs and trophies will be presented to the league winners in all categories.

The qualifiers will be held at Killossery Lodge Stud on Easter Tuesday, April 11th, at the Mullingar Equestrian Centre on Saturday, May 21st and at Boswell Equestrian on Saturday, June 25st. The final is scheduled for Killossery on Tuesday, July 11th.