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Costs and bureaucracy threaten the showing world, members of the British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association (BSHCRHA) were warned at its annual meeting.

Spending more than £54,000 on its classes at this year’s HOYS was “on the verge of financial madness”, claimed former top show rider Roger Stack, while Walter Gilbey warned of the threat from International Equestrian Federation-related extra vaccination proposals.

“This small association of just over 1,000 members has injected more than £54,000 in one year into Grandstand Media, organiser of HOYS,” said Mr Stack, who wanted the board to consider whether this could be better spent.

“This is on the verge of financial madness. I think we are on the precipice of total disaster.

“Only 161 members of the association got to HOYS, so are we really looking after our grass roots members by throwing a massive amount of money at a show, when we could perhaps spend the money better, maybe at the national championships or with a new show?”

After the meeting, Mr Stack — a former president of the association and now showing director of the Royal International Horse Show — said the total figure spent at HOYS was £54,575, which equated to £340 per entry.

Walter Gilbey, the retiring president of the association, pointed to the success of its national championships, which he felt could become a substitute for HOYS.

“I hope we shall go on improving our championships every year until members feel they are a worthy alternative — and, personally, I hope a substitute — for HOYS,” he said.

He added that, despite Roger Stack’s “best efforts”, the RIHS was still maintaining levies on entries and because of this, there was no hope of HOYS giving up its levies.

“However, taking into account the total cost of the levies and the necessary sponsorship of classes, the cost to our members directly or indirectly of competing at HOYS runs into tens of thousands of pounds,” he agreed.

Mr Gilbey said the association faced an “even greater danger” in the form of costs and bureaucracy from an FEI decision that international show jumping horses had to be flu vaccinated twice a year.

“The FEI has tried to put pressure on shows with FEI jumping events to insist that all horses at them which are not completely segregated from FEI show jumpers should also be vaccinated twice a year,” he said.

While the RIHS was not planning to bring this in because FEI show jumpers were kept separate, Mr Gilbey said HOYS had threatened to introduce such a rule from next year. However, it was hoped a compromise could be reached.

  • Read the full report from the AGM in Horse & Hound (22 December, ’05)

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