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Showjumping producers have expressed disappointment that Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) has dropped the six-year-old final from its 2013 schedule.

In a statement released just before Christmas, HOYS organiser Grandstand Media said the final was being withdrawn following “much consideration and research”.

Previous winners include Olympic gold medallist Big Star (2009).

Shirley Light of Brendon Stud has won the championship twice — with Sussex Caretino (2012) and Don VHP Z (2010), both ridden by Louise Pavitt.

“It is terribly sad — it is the showcase for British-bred horses,” she said.

Producer Charley Nathan said the decision was “a very big mistake”.

Helena Pettit of Grandstand Media told H&H that the class was not a “proper final”.

British Showjumping’s (BS) six-year-old final is held at Scope, three weeks before HOYS. The top horses from both Scope and the six-year-old final at Addington were eligible for the HOYS championship.

“It was just a bit odd that we had the two finals,” said Ms Pettit. “We want the championship finals themselves — ours was a sort of secondary one [to Scope].

“If BS wanted to move it back to HOYS, we would have it,” she added.

BS is not planning to move its six-year-old final.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (10 January 2013)