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The Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) bosses have caused a row within the Arab showing world by asking a non-Arab Horse Society-approved (AHS) judge to take the Arab conformation class at next year’s show.

The AHS has written to HOYS to complain but has been told that if members do not like the choice, they can vote with their feet and not attend.

Annette Dixon of the AHS said: “This [the choice of judge] has caused quite a bit of comment and the AHS has written to HOYS.

“All the qualifying rounds are under AHS rules, stating that the judges should be from the society.

“The Arab horse is quite distinctive. It is a different type from other horses and we have some of the best examples of the breed going forward to HOYS.”

She continued: “The exhibitors love HOYS, so there is a bit of disappointment that they do not have a judge from the panel.”

But Mark Wein of HOYS said: “The ongoing system at HOYS is that the show chooses the judges for all the showing classes.

“We receive nominations from the [assorted showing] societies [which have championship finals at HOYS] but reserve the right to make the final choice.

“The judge has been invited and accepted and we will go ahead with that judge.”

He said that if AHS members were unhappy they could stay away from HOYS, adding: “There are so many championships trying to get to HOYS, if a class proves unpopular we might remove it and replace it with a more popular one.”

www.hoys.co.uk

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (20 December, ’07)