A petition calling for the British Show Pony Society (BSPS) to ban mid-season remeasurements for its ponies has been launched by showing producer Gill Thompson.

Three ponies connected to the Staffordshire producer — Roseberry Highland Fling, Roseberry Serendipity and Poppyfields Pirouette — have been called for remeasurement in the past year (news, 18 June and 30 July).

Mrs Thompson told H&H she thinks mid-season remeasurement is unfair.

“When a horse is ‘up’ and fit it easily gains 2cm from the start of the season, so may measure out,” she said. “And trying to fit in a day when you can take the pony for remeasurement is difficult when you have shows to go to.”

Mrs Thompson also believes the present system is open to abuse, as objections to a height certificate can be made by competitors in the same class who may harbour a grudge.

The Joint Measurement Board (JMB) has called 92 horses for remeasurement this year compared with 20 in 2008.

Owners have 21 days to present the horse to an official measurer or the height certificate becomes invalid and it cannot compete in height-restricted classes.

Mrs Thompson wants BSPS council members to be offered a vote on making JMB certificates valid for the entire showing season.

“I think there should be a period out of season where your pony can be remeasured, but after that the certificate should stay in place,” she said.

But BSPS chairman Alan Hall said the society and members are supportive of the JMB’s purge on overheight horses.

“We have rules and some people are not abiding by them by entering overheight ponies into competitions,” he said.

“If the JMB feels there is a problem we should support it. Our members are concerned about overheight ponies.”

JMB secretary Howard Robinson said because the JMB is owned by the member societies, if the majority of them wanted remeasurements only to take place out of season the rules would be changed to incorporate that.

But he said a lone society could not change the rules.

And he added: “Under this rule, measurement would only take place out of season so members must be sure they are happy to allow a horse or pony they feel is overheight to continue to compete all season [before they vote for the amendment].”

To sign the petition, go to www.bspspetition.com

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (20 August, ’09)