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Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) has clarified its rules surrounding what tack and equipment can be used in the warm up following confusion among riders.

In January a new rule was introduced stating that “competitors must only use tack or spurs permissible in the ring whilst on the showground and mounted”.

This means that riders cannot warm up in tack that is not allowed in the ring, then swap into approved tack prior to their class.

A HOYS spokesman confirmed to H&H that competitors must warm up in tack that is permissible in the ring for the specific class or classes that they are entered for.

However, the HOYS spokesman went on to say: “All competitors are permitted to wear martingales and nosebands for warm up or exercise regardless of whether or not they are in a working hunter or working hunter pony class.

“In the rule ‘competitors must only use tack or spurs permissible in the ring whilst on the showground and mounted’, we do not state that this must be the same tack, rather it must be permissible. For example, if they wish to warm up in a GP saddle and then swap to a straighter cut saddle then that is allowed because the GP saddle is permissible in the class.”

When asked whether or not a Market Harborough, which Katie Jerram highlighted as one of her preferred items of tack in her recent H&H column (20 July) about the rule change, was considered a martingale and therefore would be allowed in the warm-up, the spokesman said the organisers “did not want to comment on specific items of tack or bits as there are just too many.”

Riders were also concerned that the rule would mean that they could not warm their horse up in bandages, as these items are not permitted in the ring, but HOYS has said this is not the case.

For clarity, HOYS has not classified bandages and protective pads as tack, so they are permitted in the warm up, but not in any class.

The HOYS rulebook also states that “whips are not considered tack”, so any type of whip can be used in the warm up too.

“This amendment to the rule book in January this year is to support the rule that many of the societies have already included in their rule book for a number of years, for example BSPS (British Show Pony Society) states that ‘Competitors competing in BSPS. classes must only use tack or spurs permissible in BSPS classes on the showground whilst mounted’.”

In other rule changes this season, competitors are now prohibited from displaying advertising or team branding on any item of clothing or hat when competing in the ring.

“Manufacturers’ names or labels common to the product” are excluded from this rule.

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HOYS organisers have also reminded competitors that hats should have a plain cover and should be “as per the guidelines set out in the specific class and/or society ruling; black, navy, blue, brown, grey or green as appropriate”.

For more information click here.

This week’s magazine, out on Thursday 20 July, features our full report from Great Yorkshire, including all the showjumping, showing and hound show action. Also read about the talented ponies heading to the Royal International at Hickstead (25-30 July).