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Partipants are generally divided into three categories:
- Cart ponies: ponies who pull a cart with their owners.
- Riding ponies: ponies who are ridden by their owners, either on all fours or just two legs, with the rider sitting on the shoulders of the pony. This is known as "shoulder riding". As the human back often cannot take the weight of another person, the riding is often merely symbolic, with the rider taking most of the weight on his or her own legs.
- Show ponies: ponies who show off their dressage skills by wearing elaborate harnesses and plumes and so on.