Allowing riders to carry whips in premier league classes but eliminating those who do so in championships is among the rule changes due to be brought in by British Dressage (BD) for next season.
BD is dropping the six penalties per judge currently given to any rider to carry a whip in these classes, while still allowing them in other national classes.
“Carrying a whip in a championship class now means elimination but this does not apply to premier leagues, although selectors may ask that combinations ride without a whip,” BD sports operations director, Tamsyn Cowie, told H&H.
“Previously this applied to all championship classes, including premier leagues, but resulted in minus six penalties from each judge.
“The penalty was not working fairly, so it was agreed to move back to a straight elimination, but with a concession for premier leagues at the request of our most senior riders who use these shows to produce their potential future international horses.
“Premier leagues are also used as selection trials, hence the need for the selectors to be able if they wish to see a combination functioning without a whip, as they would have to internationally.”
Whips are still permitted in other national classes and four-year-old championships.
Another rule change stipulates that three judges must be used for all championships and they should be positioned both on the long and short sides of the arena.
“Three judges have been used in juries for some time, but some venues did not always do this, so we are making this mandatory, in conjunction with a rule to ensure that one judge is always positioned on the long side at E or B, said Ms Cowie.
“This is to provide the widest view of each competitor, as well as produce the fairest results. While it may require changes for some venues to accommodate this, we will work with our organisers to facilitate this and provide advice.
“There have already been some imaginative solutions and we hope that competitors at every level at all championships will appreciate the ‘wide-angle’ assessment.”
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In addition, competitor numbers must now be worn on both sides of the horse.
“Judges, stewards, writers and photographers all have difficulty identifying riders when their numbers are not clearly visible,” added Ms Cowie.
The rules will be effective from 1 December 2017.