The Ponies of Britain Magazine, of which I have acquired several copies over the years, was crammed with pictures of delectable show ponies, but it did not shy away from the less serious elements of equine life. Fancy dress. Oh, how I love fancy dress. Not that I am any good at it myself, mark you, being an utterly hopeless sewer. But I hugely appreciate other people’s creativity.
I don’t know if big shows still go in for fancy dress, not having been to one for a while, but it certainly was quite a thing in the late sixties, and blessedly so in the 1969 Ponies of Britain summer show at Peterborough.
I loved Prince, disguised as a saddleback pig. It looks as if he has trousers on – what a noble pony. I can’t help but wonder what happened if the pony needed to have a pee – were there spaces in the right places?
There was a Group class, and this is the Meade family with their Owl and the Pussycat. I love this, though I would not have been happy at being the child who had to be the turkey.
Best of all was Welsh Cob Ceulan Mandarin, all his finer points completely covered by his mammoth costume. He was also accompanied by an Ancient Briton, a baby, and a little deer (a dog?), and his owner, Mrs Thrower, who directed operations on his back underneath the mammoth skin. When the trophies were presented she emerged from beneath to receive the honours. That must have worried any ponies still standing: Ceulan Mandarin was completely unconcerned by his odd appearance, but it had already “caused considerable alarm amongst the other competing ponies!” The mind can only boggle.
I have plenty more on fancy dress on my old blog, which I’ll be transferring here, so keep an eye out.