Two rules are being proposed to combat the issue of riders who are too heavy for their mounts at showing events.

The Showing Register (TSR) has consulted a number of senior judges, show organisers and exhibitors as part of its work on guidelines aimed at addressing the issue and its related welfare concerns.

TSR policy advisor Gail Chapman has now written to interested parties asking for feedback on its proposals, which cover riders working in as well as those in the show ring itself.

Ms Chapman wrote: “We have had an unprecedented response and the consensus seems to be that two rules are required.

“One for inside the ring, when it would be a deduction of marks so the judge does not need to directly engage with a child or adult, and a second rule which is for shows and may be already covered in a show’s rules.”

Ms Chapman added that there is currently no agreed ideal ratio of riders’ to horses’ weight, so it would be up to judges to decide whether or not people are suitably mounted.

“Guidance could be offered from breed societies, vets, welfare organisations and other interested parties,” she added.

The first proposed rule states that judges would deduct marks from the 50 on offer for a horse’s manners and way of going, adding that: “If no marks are used when judging, the rider should be placed out of the prizes”.

The second rule covers officials and judges at TSR-affiliated shows, who would advise riders warming up ponies or horses for another party “that they must be of a suitable size and weight (as a guide they should be of similar size or less than a suitable rider in the ring).”


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Officials would be supported by TSR if they ask any rider to dismount, and any verbal or physical abuse towards the official would be reported to TSR.

All interested parties are invited to an open consultation event in Stoneleigh on 4 December.

To submit feedback or for more information, email info@theshowingregister.co.uk