HOYS acts to reassure shows after concerns raised over rules on London qualifiers

  • A rule that prevents certain Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and London International Horse Show (LIHS) showing qualifiers being held at the same competition has caused concern for some show organisers.

    The HOYS terms state that any show holding British Show Pony Society (BSPS) and British Show Horse Association (BSHA) show series qualifiers for LIHS 2023 will not be permitted to run any HOYS qualifiers at the same show. HOYS said that this “should not impact the individual shows”.

    Concerns were raised about the rule and one organiser told H&H it is forcing shows to choose between HOYS and LIHS on which qualifiers they hold.

    “Shows are struggling enough to make money in the current situation, and with the cost of living and fuel prices, competitors are struggling to compete,” he said. “It appears that the shows are caught in the middle of a dispute between HOYS and some governing bodies. The people paying the price for that are the shows and the competitors.

    “No one wants to stick their head above the parapet, because no one wants to lose their qualifiers, but there’s a lot of unrest. The only solution I can see is for shows that are affected to ask HOYS for a dispensation. But as it stands, we’ll have to choose between hosting HOYS or LIHS qualifiers.”

    Nick Brooks-Ward, development director of LIHS organiser HPower, said the rule means “many organisations are faced with a choice”.

    “We have developed these new classes to open up another route into showing that is educational and informative. At all stages in the development of these classes, we have endeavoured to offer something new for competitors and for ASAO [Association of Show and Agricultural Organisation] member shows,” he said.

    A spokesman for HOYS organiser Grandstand Media told H&H that following the announcement of the new LIHS showing series, HOYS is waiting to see the full rule-base the series will run.

    “As a result of this, HOYS has allocated this year’s qualifiers with an addition to the wording for qualifier shows to safeguard the distinction of the HOYS classes, in a similar manner to how this has previously been phrased for Royal International Horse Show and LIHS qualifiers. This was done with no knowledge of where and when the qualifiers for this new series will be held in 2023,” he said.

    “From conversations with the relevant parties, we understand that the intention is for the LIHS showing series to be allocated to local agricultural shows, and therefore not those with existing HOYS qualifiers. It is for this reason that the extension of the HOYS wording should not impact the individual shows.”

    The spokesman added that Grandstand has been contacted by three shows that have been allocated a non-ridden HOYS qualifier, and on this basis HOYS has “agreed” to review.

    “It is evident that the showing industry is working hard to provide new opportunities for amateurs, and as organisers we remain committed to supporting competitors across the board,” she said. “We continue to welcome feedback as we work with the shows and societies for the benefit of showing and for the future of HOYS.”

    BSPS chair Paul Cook told H&H the BSPS was approached by the ASOA and asked whether it could support a series of qualifiers for the LIHS.

    “There have been a significant number of county and agricultural shows that have had challenges around attracting enough entries, if they don’t have qualifying opportunities – and particularly HOYS qualifiers – so we agreed to the series. We already work particularly closely with LIHS with our M&M [mountain and moorland] final,” he said.

    “The idea was that the new qualifiers go to county and agricultural shows that don’t have a full range of HOYS qualifiers. Where the anomaly has come is there are some shows that just have one HOYS qualifier, and therefore they have read the HOYS rule as it prohibits them from having any LIHS qualifiers. Where there are these anomalies, I think HOYS will work with the show to iron that out.”

    BSHA general manager Lucy Savill, and chair Nigel Hollings, told H&H the organisation is “committed” to supporting county shows that have experienced diminished entries in recent years.

    “The aim of the rising star series is to welcome newcomers into showing, support our existing members and provide an attainable route to not only a new and exciting final hosted by LIHS, but to all levels of affiliated showing, a concept shared with Grandstand Media as part of our planning process,” they said.

    “We have been inundated with calls and emails from shows wishing to take part and hope that we can all work together to keep showing fun and educational.”

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