Radical changes to British Showjumping’s (BS) grading system have been met with outrage from members who claim they have not been consulted or notified.
Many riders have said that they were not even aware that the changes were due to be implemented last week (14 April). Members are also cross that BS announced the changes on its website rather than writing to members.
“I found out on Facebook,” rider Rose Neave told H&H.“I think that is how most people did. It’s laughable.”
Under the new structure, notional winnings — which previously determined at what level horses were eligible to compete — have been scrapped in favour of a points system.
Previous winnings have been converted, with every notional £1 equalling one point. Horses will also be awarded points for double clears and new limits have been put in place for national championships and the upgrade levels for horses and ponies.
“We introduced points because many people found the old system difficult to understand,” said Iain Graham of BS.“It is a process that is already used in many other European countries.”
The day after the rules were introduced, BS made alterations to the system because of “member feedback”.
Members took to social media to vent their anger.
“My main grievance is not with the actual changes, but with what can only be described as the shambolic way they have been introduced,”one member complained.
“No proper or timely communication and the meagre information that was posted on the website was littered with errors.”
Another added:“They don’t care what we think. They just ride roughshod over us.”
As well as these complaints, some riders have branded the introduction of points for double clears “ridiculous”.
The concern is that the extra points could lead to horses becoming ineligible for novice classes too quickly.
But Iain Graham said the points had been introduced to “reward those who were attaining double clears”.
“With the new limits in British novice, you would have to jump more than 25 double clears before you would be out [of the class],” he said.
BS will be reviewing the new implementations at its next national sport committee meeting at the end of May.
“We will be looking at it over the year to see how it has worked. If necessary amendments will be made,” Iain told H&H.