The pony showing world has taken radical steps- including disciplining a number of high-profile judges – to stamp out alleged cheating at shows and ensure that its rules are properly enforced.

It is hoped that making disciplinary decisions widely known will remind judges and competitors of the hazards of operating outside the rules, whether intentionally or otherwise.

No less than nine BSPS judges have been disciplined this season including respected show producers John Rawding and Sally Osborne, and chairman of the British Show Hack Cob and Riding Horse Association, Jennifer Williams. All three have all lost their accreditation to judge certain Horse of the Year Show and Royal International Horse Show qualifiers.

Other judges which have been disciplined include David Puttock and Robert Parker Jones, who received severe reprimands, and Jillian Grummit, who received a warning, while Marjorie Richardson, Douglas Kellow and John Cory have been struck off altogether.

BSPS chairman Jim McTiffin said:”We’ve decided to publicise the names of the judges more widely for the first time, because we feel so strongly that we must be accountable to our members.

“Showing is a highly specialised competitive game, but problems sometimes occur because judges don’t keep themselves up to date with rule changes. We have tried to combat this by organising judges’ conferences, but increasing awareness of the fact that we can and do discipline judges who break the rules is also important.”

Jennifer Williams said that she was saddened by the BSPS’s action, adding: “I have been judging for many years and have my own integrity and views on ponies. It is a sad day when exhibitors will not accept the judges’ verdict and choose to make a complaint. It has got to the point where it is increasingly difficult to be a judge if you are also involved in producing ponies.”

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (28 November), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.