‘Mistakes happen’: scoring error means wrong rider ‘won’ Blair

  • The organisers of Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials (24-27 August) have apologised “unreservedly” for a judging error which meant the wrong rider was crowned CIC3* winner.

    Harriet Wright, 18, and Ngong Hills took the title by 3.9 penalties from Matthew Heath on Cooley Lord Lux.

    Harriet’s final score of 66.7 included four penalties for knocking down one showjump. But when the teenager watched a video of her round after she arrived home from the event, she realised she had in fact lowered two fences.

    This meant Matthew should have won by 0.1 of a penalty but although Harriet rang Blair as soon as she realised the mistake, FEI rules mean the result stands.

    “I’d rattled a few in the showjumping but when I came out and asked my mum how many I’d had down, she said one and the announcer said one,” Harriet told H&H.

    “I looked at her video and it showed one down, so I didn’t think anything of it.”

    But when she later saw another video, taken from a spot with a clearer view of the whole arena, Harriet realised the mistake.

    “My heart sank but I stayed true to myself; I had to call,” she said. “Some people were saying don’t phone but it wouldn’t have been like winning; I want to win on my own merits.”

    Harriet said she is “really chuffed” to have come second at that level, and that she would like to win for real next year.

    “And the horse still thinks he’s won it!” she added. “I can’t knock him.

    “I was going to do Osberton but I think I’ll save his legs for next year; I’d love to do an Event Rider Masters.

    “I’m pleased too that I’ve done the right thing; I want to win by winning, not because of a mistake like this.”

    Matthew said it is unfortunate Cooley Lord Lux’s owner Hazel Livesey missed out on the win, which would have been the rider’s first international victory.

    “It’s one of those things that shouldn’t have happened but mistakes do happen,” he told H&H. “Harriet’s been very apologetic and was very open as soon as she found out, fair play to her for ringing up, and everyone’s dealt with a bad situation really well.

    “It’s disappointing not to have the win but I’ve got a good team of horses who will hopefully be doing well.”

    Blair confirmed the “error in scoring”.

    “Harriet herself contacted the organisers, having seen a video of her round,” a statement added.

    “Until that moment she was unaware that two poles had come down.

    “Matthew Heath and Cooley Lord Lux’s owner, Mrs Hazel Livesey, have been very understanding. According to FEI rules, the result from the day as signed off stands.

    “Blair Horse Trials has made the appropriate financial recompense and apologises unreservedly for this judging error.”

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