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Show pony producers have been scrambling for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) tickets after a disqualification caused a confusing domino effect.

Kenilwood Sirocco won the 138cm show pony class at the East of England Show (19 June), which should have qualified him for HOYS.

But an objection was lodged with the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) following the show and he was disqualified.

A BSPS spokesman said it was found that producer Julie Templeton had a connection to the judge, Clare Smalley.

Meanwhile the second-placed pony at East of England, Ninfield Fable, produced by Nigel and Stuart Hollings, had won at Cheshire County (22 June).

The Hollingses thought they had picked up their HOYS ticket, but Stuart told H&H: “It turned out we had actually qualified at East of England, because Kenilwood Sirocco had been disqualified.”

He added: “It’s like dominos — because we no longer needed the qualification at Cheshire, that passed down the line to the next pony [Moluccas Perfect Peppercorn, produced by Katy Carter].”

But the confusion does not end there. In the period between winning at East of England and being disqualified, Kenilwood Sirocco had won at Staffordshire Country Festival (2-3 July).

But thinking the winner had qualified already, connections of second-placed Pickmere Anser thought it had secured a ticket.

Following the reorganisation of the qualifications, Kenilwood Sirocco claimed the win, leaving Pickmere Anser in the lurch.

Pickmere Anser later qualified at North of England (16 July).

BSPS spokesman Karen Ward told H&H this shows that competitors should not assume they have a qualification, but should wait for official notification from the BSPS.

Nobody is told they have qualified at a show — they should not presume they have until they have something in writing,” she said.

Competitors have 14 days after any show to make a complaint and that is what happened in this situation.

“People get cross if results have to be changed, but we cannot allow people to win if they have broken the rules.

“If it is mid-season and they are decent ponies they will go on to qualify somewhere else, as has happened in this case.”

Ms Templeton told H&H: “We have written to the BSPS asking them to make their rules regarding associations more clear. The rules say you can’t produce the judge’s pony — I didn’t, I just led it in the ring.

“This is still a children’s sport. It took away all the glory for the little girl who rides ‘Ken’.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 July, 2011)