British Dressage (BD) has apologised for the way a change to its voting rules were revealed to members.
The change, if approved at the BD annual meeting on 7 June, will mean members no longer vote for the chairman. Instead, the chairman will be chosen from the board.
Member Terry Wardle criticised BD after finding the proposed special resolution “hidden away” in an edition of British Dressage magazine.
“They are taking away members’ rights,” he said.
“There are two issues here — whether the rule change is a good idea and that it should have been made clear, not hidden in the magazine.”
BD chief executive David Holmes told H&H: “With hindsight we should have explained what the resolution meant. But it’s always a matter of having the time.”
He said an explanation of the proposed changes would be posted on BD’s website.
“We will explain it at the AGM, where members will vote on this,” he said, adding that the change was “good governance” and necessary
for continuity within BD.
“Until Desi [Dillingham] stood down as chairman we had not thought [about] her successor,” said Mr Holmes. “The sport is now more complex [than when BD was set up in 1998] and BD is more complex as a result. A new chairman could spend a year getting up to speed.
“Jennie [Loriston-Clarke] was a suitable successor to Desi because she was on the judges’ panel, had been chef d’equipe and trainer to the British team and was heavily involved in the young riders’ scheme. She had a good feel for how the organisation works regionally and nationally. But someone could come in as chairman who does not have that in-depth knowledge.”
He said the changes would bring BD in line with British Eventing and the British Show Jumping Association.
In last year’s election for chairman (news, 14 June 2007) Mrs Loriston-Clarke beat Dane Rawlins, founder of Dressage at Hickstead, by 822 votes to 705.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (8 May, ’08)