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A last-minute judge swap at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS, 9-13 October) may have implications for exhibitors.

Emma Coates, the scheduled judge of Saturday’s (12 October) Kathleen Wood Children’s Riding Pony classes, has been replaced by David Blair of Waxwing Stud due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Under the show’s rules, it is the exhibitor’s responsibility to ensure that their pony does not have any connection with the judge.

If any exhibitors now find that their pony cannot compete due to the swap, they will have to withdraw, despite already having paid entry, stabling and the HOYS levy in qualifiers.

A spokesman for HOYS said: “The announcement was made as soon as the replacement was confirmed. As far as we are aware, there are no competitors this will affect, but any who have any concerns should call the office.”

Don’t miss our HOYS preview in this week’s issue of H&H — out Thursday 3 October.