Following a decision by HOYS in July, there are now four pony height sections for both shows — not exceeding 122cm, 133cm, 143cm and over 143cm — and new fence heights and widths for spreads.
HOYS said the changes will create a more equal playing field, in which the athletic ability of each breed is considered, rather than its height.
But as the National Pony Society (NPS) decision to bring RIHS qualifiers into line with the HOYS ones was taken after three RIHS qualifiers had been held, some riders are concerned that the new system is not fair.
One H&H reader asked: “How can the NPS get away with changing the rules after the start of the season? How can it be fair to those who, under the new system, would have got their tickets in their relevant sections?”
But a statement released by the NPS stated: “Qualifications awarded at Bucks County, Romsey and Royal County of Berkshire shows will stand, with three ponies from each of these shows going forward to the final at Hickstead.”
The society did not wish to comment further.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (15 November 2012)