I'll never forget some of my introductions to "local" shows that have classes for small (most folk around here consider a pony to be about 14 hh) equine and youth... when we brought the ponies to NC with us (I arrived with a stallion - 45" @ at the withers, 1 mare approx 37" @ the withers & their daughter about 34" at the withers when we arrived in April 1997).
For the first 3 years that we were in NC with the ponies, I wanted almost daily to go "home" to Colorado or Montana. One of my stories on showing the ponies locally (and it was UGLY) is here. This is a year after we arrived and I'd had people asking/telling me I needed to take the ponies and the girls' out to shows. This is the very first show we went to - History: Horse Show Manners
It is amazing that we ever went to any more. Taking the girls and ponies to shows was an uphill battle - and the girls quickly outgrew the smaller ponies - so they then went on to show the youngsters that our shetland stallion sired out of a variety of larger mares - I hauled "babies" to shows with no more than 15 rides under saddle and the ponies/kids did GREAT - because of the foundation I gave both the ponies and the girls. We finally found one show series that had classes like we liked (in hand trail classes and natural obstacle trail classes) - only to have the shows come to a screeching halt before we actually hauled out to one. We found a series of local shows that worked for us and we went. It's interesting to note that the girls have very different memories of some of them than what I do (adult perspective vs child's) and I'm so very glad for the handful of pics I did get (LONG BEFORE digital cameras and/or we could afford pro shots).
The one show I was asked to support - I was prepared for and was supposed to haul 6 ponies to. Only to have a 2 month old colt "start" eating sand and as we took him to the vet that morning before the show, his abdomen ruptured... Needless to say, we didn't make it to that one - though the show manager called me later and let me know how disappointed she was. Later, I never committed to another show with that group and it was just as well - every time we prepped for one of those - we had something go majorly wrong, though never as bad as losing that colt! That show series has grown a lot - now is often a 2 day show - and has adopted a lot of Hunter/Jumper rules. They hold some shows now exclusively for H/J - though they weren't that big when we first went to some of their shows. Very nice awards program and they do still have pony classes and some mini classes, too.