Amateur riders have hit out against Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) organisers as an increased number of qualifiers for Mountain and Moorlands (M&M) are being held during the week.
More than half of the qualifiers listed for M&M classes are now scheduled to take place on weekdays.
H&H blogger Chloe Chubb was one rider who raised concerns.
“When you get such limited holiday and try to have a bit of a life as well, it becomes all the more restricting on what you can do and aim for,” she said.
“There are often comments that the small breed M&Ms are dominated by professional adults but with the qualifiers placed like they are, it’s hardly surprising.”
HOYS told H&H that a number of qualifiers had been moved to midweek due to a “conflict” over dates.
The South of England (11-13 June), the Royal Three Counties (12-14 June) and the Derbyshire Festival (13-14 June) are all being held across the same weekend.
“To avoid any conflicts with qualifiers clashing, the three shows have worked together to ensure that their respective timetables do not have the same HOYS qualifiers on the same day,” a spokesman from HOYS explained.
HOYS told H&H that the show dates have been provided for 2016 and will not clash next year.
“The change has been made this year only and we don’t expect, going forward, for this issue to affect next year’s qualifiers,” a spokesman added.
All of the qualifiers for HOYS take place between March and September and a full list for all classes is now available on the show’s website.
There was controversy last year when a disagreement over a new hat safety rule resulted in HOYS hunter qualifiers classes no longer being run by Sports Horse Breeding of Great Britain (SHB(GB)).
The hunter qualifiers were instead run by the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) in 2014 who will continue to run them this year.
A full list of the qualifiers can be found here: http://hoys.co.uk/competitor-zone/showing-qualifiers/
Ref: Horse & Hound; 5 February 2015