A stark warning was issued by the board of the British Show Hack, Cob and Riding Horse Association at the AGM after another stormy year behind the scenes.
“Policies are more important than personalities,” said president Walter Gilbey. “We must all work together, and while we welcome members’ comments and suggestions, they should be constructive rather than destructive. Anonymous letters will not be considered.”
Referring to alleged instances of judges having been verbally abused, he told the full house: “We are extremely concerned that bad sportsmanship and intimidation of judges should not occur in our association.”
Chairman Brian Williams warned that such behaviour would not be tolerated. He added: “People must accept a judge’s decision as final, and with good grace. If they have reason to take issue, they must follow the proper procedures.”
The president went on to stress: “We must have a vision for the future of this association and this might include members feeling that, allowing for human mistakes, which will always occur in any activity, our judging is both fair and of a high standard.”
Treasurer Peter Warren also sought to set the financial record straight. “Contrary to malicious rumour-mongering, the idea that the association is close to liquidation is utter rubbish,” he said. “We have more than £76,000 in reserves and we are looking to make a steady growth.”
Outlining some of the association’s other ongoing concerns, the president said it objects to the compulsory remeasurement of HOYS champions.
“We are still seeking to have this practice ended,” he said. “When a life height certificate has been issued, it should mean life.”
The association is also investigating the possibility of becoming a passport-issuing organisation for the benefit of members, and show secretaries are to be urged to shorten the time between close of entries and the actual shows.
Among the questions from the floor was a request for an update on the association’s progress in negotiating accident insurance for ride judges. Peter Warren replied that enquiries are still being made, but so far, few companies seem prepared to quote for such cover.
Osborne Refrigerators, long-time sponsor of BSHCRHA classes at HOYS, has withdrawn its support of hack and cob classes, but will continue to sponsor the riding horse classes. As a result the association is looking for new sponsors at a cost of around £7,500 for each section. “I felt it was time for someone else to step in,” said Jeffrey Osborne.