Ponies (UK) tightens amateur rules to prevent professionals taking on rides

  • Showing society Ponies (UK) (PUK) has tightened up a ruling in its amateur mountain and moorland (M&M) series in an attempt to stop professionals taking on rides after the final.

    The popular championship for amateur riders takes place at the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) and qualifying classes are run throughout the year.

    The new rules defining amateurs are in line with Hickstead’s amateur horse classes, which are run under the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) rules.

    PUK secretary Debbie Miller said that the society made the decision to align with the BSHA: “We have done this as an endeavour to eliminate competitors who would compete in amateur classes up until the RIHS, and then after their class at the RIHS would use professional jockeys. Previously our ruling only stated that professionals could not give any assistance on the day of the competition but we felt that this did not go far enough in covering professional actually riding these amateur exhibits.”

    Some competitors have raised concerns over parts of the rule, such as the fact equines ridden by a professional in the last year are not eligible to compete in amateur classes, saying this could affect ponies who have been ridden by professionals at Horse of the Year Show due to the fact some amateur owners had more than one ride qualified.

    Ms Miller continued: “Ponies (UK) did not have to make the change. We chose to amend our rules in line with other societies so that it makes it easier, and more understandable for competitors and that hopefully in time, all societies will come into alignment so that, amateur competitors know exactly where they stand across all societies.”

    Below are the current PUK amateur rules as found in the rule book as of January 2019:

    (A) Amateur status – a person is an amateur for the purpose of classes run under Association Rules if he/she does not, during the current or previous season:

    1. (i)  Engage in breeding, livery, buying, selling, dealing or hiring horses in a commercial capacity.
    2. (ii)  Receive remuneration for employment in the connection with horses in racing, showing, livery stable or riding school (instruction at Pony Club and riding club excepted). This does not include the suppliers of ancillary services such as farriers and vets.
    3. (iii)  Own/part-own an equestrian establishment including but not limited to riding schools, events centre, stud or livery yard in any capacity, or receive any form of remuneration for employment at an equestrian establishment. For the avoidance of doubt for the purpose of this rule, immediate family members of an owner or part owner of an equestrian establishment who work or are howsoever otherwise engaged or involved in any capacity, whether or not for remuneration at the equestrian establishment, will be treated as being an owner or part owner of that equestrian establishment.
    4. (iv)  Show a horse owned or sponsored by a company or a commercial firm, or act as a brand ambassador or supported person, in any showing classes, Ponies (UK) or otherwise, or a horse for which his/her immediate family accepts livery or training charges from a person outside the immediate family concerned.
    1. (i)  A competitor is not eligible to compete in amateur classes on an exhibit, which has been ridden by a professional rider in any open classes, Ponies (UK) or otherwise, with the exception of open working show horse and side saddle classes, during the current year and the following year, up to but not including the Royal International Horse Show. The above rule does not apply, if the horse has been professionally produced and only ridden by a professional, during the current season, or if the horse has subsequently been sold and re-registered under new ownership.
    2. (ii)  On the day when an exhibit is competing in an amateur class, Professionals are not allowed to ride or work-in the relevant animal. No professional producers are allowed into the ring to groom/strip the horse.
    1. (B)  Amateur Owner/Rider. Open to horses owned and ridden by an amateur, (the rider need not be the owner of the horse). This ruling will also apply to amateurs who wish to compete in the annual amateur points awards. No professional producers are allowed into the ring to groom/strip the horse.
    2. (C)  Amateur Home Produced. Open to horses, which are either stabled at home or in a DIY yard and which since 1 January in the current year, have not been shown by a professional during the current season or stabled in a professional yard at any time in the current year. To be ridden by an amateur. This does not exclude amateur owner home-produced riders having lessons at any time with an instructor, providing the horse remains stabled at home. No professional producers are allowed into the ring to groom/strip the horse.

    What do you think of the rule change? Email hhletters@ti-media.com for a chance to see your views in H&H magazine and win a bottle of Champagne Taittinger (please include your name and address; letters may be edited). 

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