Five animals who were to compete at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) have been disqualified for exceeding their size category, some by as much as 6cm.

But the British Show Pony Society’s measurement steward Jim McTiffin has said this shows the problem is being tackled by the body responsible for ensuring horses are of the correct height — the Joint Measurement Board (JMB).

“There is something very wrong if horses and ponies are so much taller than they should be. There is a margin of error, but not five or six centimetres,” he said.

“The JMB is making positive moves to ensure it does not happen in future.”

Those remeasured in August include Paul Mortimer’s large hack Becconsall Pick Pocket, who was found to be 5.5cm taller than the 160cm limit for the class.

Two 128cm showjumping ponies — Rainsbrook Hummingbird, ridden by Charlie Dawson, and Red Ranger, ridden by George Babes — qualified for HOYS at the Southview Pony Premier at Wettenhall, Cheshire (15-16 May).

But Rainsbrook Hummingbird has since been measured at 129cm and Red Ranger at 132.2cm — 4.2cm too tall.

A spokesman for British Showjumping said: “We will always strive to ensure fair competition and take a breach of the measuring rule as seriously as we would any other.”

Cases of jumping ponies measuring out are fairly rare.

Additionally, the HOYS-qualified 143cm show hunter pony Ellenbrook Masterplan — owned by Jane Findlow and ridden by her daughter Beccy — was measured at 147.5cm.

And 143cm working hunter pony Sannan Valley Bobby Sox, ridden by Annelli Bletsoe-Brown, who has also qualified, measured out by 6cm.

Remeasurements are pending for Blaircourt Mini Mouse, owned by M Lloyd-Bainbridge, and Christine Wheeler’s working hunter pony Tetcott Paper Boy, who is also qualified for HOYS.

A spokesman for the show said: “British Showjumping has formally notified us that the two jumping ponies have been disqualified.

“But the showing ponies have not been reported to us yet. I can confirm that they have qualified but have had no further correspondence from the societies.”

Becconsall Pick Pocket and Tetcott Paper Boy are both entered for HOYS.

Thirty-three animals have been called to be remeasured by the JMB in 2010.

Last year, allegations of corruption within the world of measuring spurred the JMB into action and 107 equines were remeasured. In comparison just 20 horses were called for remeasuring in 2008.

The JMB was not available to comment.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (2 September, ’10)