Calls to calibrate timing equipment at British Showjumping shows

  • Showjumper Nicole Pavitt’s mother is calling for timing systems to be checked annually after a recent timing dispute.

    Sandra Pavitt is pulling together evidence to support a campaign for equipment to be officially calibrated.

    It follows complaints to British Showjumping (BS) from Mrs Pavitt and showjumper Adam Cove about Felbridge (3 June) and from Eleni Murphy, mother of 11-year-old Robert, about Weston Lawns (27 May).

    Nicole and Adam incurred five and six penalties respectively in the second round of the newcomers at Felbridge. They disputed the times and were allowed to jump the third round, which Nicole won.

    But the result of the class had to be verified by BS, which said the time-faults stood.

    “I am not known as a slow rider, but the clock showed me as finishing 12 seconds behind everybody else,” Nicole told H&H. “Then Adam came after me and got six penalties.”

    Mrs Pavitt added: “I gathered 50 signatures from people who watched the rounds who said the time was rubbish, but BS’s attitude is that it’s tough luck – the judges’ decision stands.”

    Adam Cove said: “My video shows my round took 46 seconds but they had me down as 58 seconds.”

    Centre manager Shaun Marsh said he could not explain how his timing was so different from the riders’, but suggested they started their rounds late. Both riders reject this.

    Mrs Murphy complained to BS when her son Robert was announced in fourth place in the Horse of the Year Show 128cm qualifier at Weston Lawns, despite the arena clock showing him having finished more than a second faster than the girl in third place .

    “Watching video of Robert’s round and the girl’s side by side, it is blatant she was slower,” said Mrs Murphy.

    BS upheld the judges’ decision and Mrs Murphy has decided to take it no further.

    Helen Wells of the centre said the disparity between the time in the ring and judges’ box was due to the hot weather causing the numbers on the arena clock to stick. It has since been serviced, she added.

    A BS spokesman said it was happy that in both cases the judges’ clocks had shown the correct time.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (28 June 2012)

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