The rider of the mule who has been hitting headlines after he was banned from being registered with British Dressage (BD) is “over the moon” the ban has now been lifted.
H&H reported last week that Christie Mclean had been refused BD club membership for Wallace The Great as she was told only horses and ponies may be registered.
The story was picked up by national newspapers and websites, and it emerged that although BD had told H&H it “takes its lead from the FEI” which also does not allow mules, this was not correct.
BD this morning (4 July) issued a statement saying it had considered mule registration in full at a board of directors’ meeting yesterday.
“Following consultation with the FEI, the board has taken the decision to harmonise our rules with the international federation by adopting the same wording,” it added.
“While our current rules refer to horses and ponies without a full definition, the FEI general regulations 2018 are more specific and state: ‘Horse: refers also to a pony or other member of the genus equus unless the context requires otherwise. A horse shall be born from a mare.
“This definition would allow mules to compete and therefore this change will be implemented with immediate effect and reflected in the British Dressage rules.”
When told of the change, Christie told H&H: “Wow!
“I did not expect this to happen. I just thought we might be able to raise a small amount of awareness of the other equines of the world; I’m over the moon.”
Christie said she had not expected the media storm that broke after H&H ran the story.
“I was over the moon to hear from H&H as that’s a childhood dream; to be mentioned in H&H would be awesome!” she said. “But then it went everywhere.
“I couldn’t believe the number of people who said they’d be fine with it; I could count the negative comments on one hand.
“And I do understand; if the boot was on the other foot, I might wonder how my pony would react but any competition I have entered and will enter, I will make sure every horse and rider is happy with my presence before I do anything.”
She now plans to enter Wallace, who is owned by the Donkey Sanctuary and fostered by Christie’s friend Lesley Radcliffe, in a team quest competition on 22 July, and also hopes to compete in other BD events.
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BD chief executive Jason Brautigam said: “We are grateful this situation has been brought to our attention so we can now ensure our rules are brought in line with the FEI. We are delighted to welcome Wallace and his fellow mules to compete with BD, as part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity in dressage, making the sport more accessible to all.”
And Christie added: “I love that, that’s absolutely amazing.”
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