A recent spate of eliminations at British Dressage (BD) Area Festivals after the competitions have taken place is causing concern for riders.

It brings the tally to six this season — an improvement on last year’s 48 when only 60% of the entries were validated before the shows were held. There were 112 eliminations in 2012. This is in relation to more than 3,000 entries across the festivals.

The preliminary winner from Duchy (report H&H magazine, 30 October), Debbie Squires was subsequently eliminated (the day after H&H magazine went to press) and the elementary restricted winner at Moreton Morrell, Elizabeth Hibbard (Stanhopes Jakthelad) was not eligible as the pair had competed at this year’s nationals at the level.

This year, BD has been running pre-competition eligibility checks on lists provided by the organisers. However, Elizabeth’s entry came in at the last minute so was not included on BD’s list.

BD’s Paul Graham said: “We can’t apologise enough when this does happen; we will be working to try and achieve zero eliminations in 2015.

“The stats [as above] have improved dramatically, and the eliminations this year have either been because the organiser has made an error, or we have not been able to verify information correctly as in the preliminary one last week where the members had two records.

“The board has released additional funds for us to enhance the IT and increase checking automatically rather than relying on manual processors. Also, we will make closing dates for all Area Festivals three weeks before the competition to allow us to verify all entries.”

BD is keen to point out that all qualification emails include the line: “Please note: qualification is dependent on eligibility. Check whether you are eligible…”

The new elementary winner, Michelle Henson, will be photographed at home with Broadstone Darwin by Kevin Sparrow to make up for missing her moment in the spotlight.

For the full report from Moreton Morrell Area Festival see this week’s issue of H&H — out tomorrow (Thursday 6 June).