The Joint Measurement Board (JMB) has agreed to pay the owner of show hunter pony Radway Midnight Magic a five-figure sum in legal costs after a dispute over its identity and height.
Owner Veronica White and her solicitor Rory MacNeice have called for JMB member societies to demand an investigation into the dispute settled out of court last week.
“I’m outraged that my integrity was questioned — this was a form of bullying,” said Mrs White. “I’m lucky, not everyone could afford to take action — they kept hoping I would go away.”
The dispute began in 2002 when Mrs White was told an objection had been lodged over the pony’s height.
“I got the letter in 2004,” she said. “I’d owned the pony for four months and he had a life height certificate in 2002.”
Mrs White presented the pony for remeasuring and he measured out. During the remeasurement, she alleges vet Alistair MacVicar queried the identity of the pony since the accompanying ID document did not record a white mark on one heel.
Incensed at suggestions she had produced a ringer, Mrs White took legal advice.
“I had him inspected by an independent vet, who said the mark could have been acquired after 2002 due to injury or, because of its position, missed,” she said.
Mr MacNeice issued proceedings in Exeter County Court in March 2005, seeking a declaration that the pony presented for remeasuring was Radway Midnight Magic.
Last week, he confirmed the JMB had agreed to pay Mrs White’s legal costs and that the board had accepted the pony presented was Radway Midnight Magic.
“All the evidence made it clear the pony presented for remeasurement was Radway Midnight Magic,” he said. “JMB officials involved could and should have accepted this in 2004.”
A sports solicitor, Mr MacNeice suggested show animals be microchipped.
“This is mandatory with racehorses and would mean a quick answer in cases such as this,” he said.
JMB chairman Michael Gibson said member societies would be kept in touch with the case via board representatives.
“It’s never a satisfactory solution to end up in court,” he said. “It doesn’t do anyone any good and costs large amounts of money.”
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