Controversy over six-year-old Welsh Masters qualification

  • Competitors in the national six-year-old qualifier at the Welsh Masters have forgone their qualification for the national final at the British Showjumping Scope Festival in September after refusing to jump in the final round.

    The riders of all 19 horses that had each jumped double clears on the grass Castle Arena decided to withdraw from the third and final round due to the ground conditions.

    In order to qualify for the Scope final, where the top 18 go forward to the six-year-old class at Horse of the Year Show, horses must have achieved a treble clear.

    “The show had made a superb effort with the ground, but the weather was against them,” said Shirley Light, owner of Louise Pavitt’s ride Sussex Caretino, “It was not in the best interests of the horses to jump in the third round.”

    Course-designer Steve Williams moved fences several times during the 71-strong class to make the most of the ground.

    “All six single fences for round three were re-sited on fresh ground and were not gut-busters — the biggest stood at 1.30m,” said Steve.

    Despite the show’s best efforts, the riders chose not to jump, leaving their horses unqualified. Riders and owners had hoped that the adverse weather on this occasion would be considered favourably by BS, but have had their hopes dashed. They have written a letter asking BS to reconsider their decision.

    “They did all they could in the circumstances,” said producer Philip Spivey. “My horse jumped 15 efforts in round one, including the water, and after jumping well in the warm-up and over fence one in the ring, he then lost all his jump — he’d done enough.

    “Common sense prevailed with the riders, and I believe common sense should prevail as regards to the qualification.”

    BS chief executive Iain Graham said: “The jumps had been moved on to fresh ground to ensure as good going as possible. Our officials were satisfied the ground conditions were suitable for jumping so we are not going to amend the qualifying criteria for that class.”

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