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Show horse producer Robert Bell has been suspended from all British Show Horse Association (BSHA) classes and shows for three years after a disciplinary tribunal found him guilty of improper behaviour.

A hearing that took place on 20 September found Mr Bell guilty of using “abusive and foul language” at the BSHA Grassroots show at Addington in April.

It also concluded he behaved “in a threatening manner” towards a judge at the show – where his wife Louise‘s four-year-old horse Into The Blue was competing.

The panel found he had “conducted himself in a disgraceful manner” which risked bringing the association into disrepute.

Mr Bell, who is renowned for producing top-class hunters with Louise, did not attend the hearing and stepped down as a member of the BSHA and from the association’s judging panel a week before the hearing on 14 September.

He told H&H the whole case was “unnecessary, ridiculous and over the top”. He said he “pleaded guilty” and apologised “straight away” and several times subsequently in writing but that the BSHA “refused to accept it”.

He claimed he had been “upset” by the way the horse had been ridden by a judge and in the “heat of the moment” expressed his anger.

“This result doesn’t make a difference as I don’t compete in BSHA classes and only judge to give something back to the sport,” he said.

Judge John Poole told H&H: “Showing is a gentleman’s sport – you don’t expect that behaviour. I won’t be threatened, and younger judges coming on shouldn’t be put off by intimidation.”

Nigel Hollings, chairman of the BSHA, said he welcomed the tribunal’s “strong message”.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (29 September, 2011)