Today: the Shetland Pony Grand National; tomorrow: maybe the real Grand National. (For the mini jockeys, not the ponies.)
Olympia, the London International Horse Show, not only offers world-class competition for the international set but also plenty of festive spectacle and entertainment for the lay horse person. One of the top horsey entertainments of Olympia each year is the final race of the Shetland Pony Grand National season, the crown jewel to which every pint-sized jockey aspires.
The racing can get pretty rowdy — after all, these are Shetland ponies, with all the associated attitudes and surprising strengths in a small package. Racing at speed over relative-to-the-pony substantial fences means that certainly almost anything can happen, and these young jockeys are tougher than nails.
The Shetland Pony Grand National is open to any child between the age of nine and 14 under five feet in height. Jockeys race all season on their ponies, with many seeking to qualify for Olympia as the crowning achievement of the year. Many professional adult jockeys got their start riding the Shetland Pony Grand National as well!
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