A lot of people don’t understand British Showjumping’s [BS] new points scoring system, and even I don’t completely, but having points awarded for double clears has to be a step in the right direction.
It’s going to take time to understand how quickly the double clear points will stack up and how soon we’ll be jumping out of newcomers and so on. But let’s face it, it can’t be any more confusing than the notional and actual winnings were.
This way, clear rounds are rewarded and that has to be better than encouraging young horses to win too many classes.
People have said, though, that having every horse’s round — not just when they earn a placing — recorded for all to see is a bad thing. If you’re trying to hide something, then of course it is. But people with well-produced horses will see the benefits and for buyers everything is more transparent.
A young horse’s record was not really relevant before, because you couldn’t tell if you were comparing a horse who had 10 placings from 30 shows against one with 10 results in 10 shows — now it’s there for all to see.
A lot of positives came from Wales and West’s young horse classes last week. OK, some of the jump-offs were pretty speedy, but it’s your choice how fast you go with a young horse and a double clear will still be rewarded.
Everybody wants an aim for their horse each year — or they at least have an idea of where they want their horse to be.
But the Addington Manor talent seekers including seven-year-old horse championship at Horse of the Year Show [HOYS] is a total mish-mash.
At the first qualifier at Weston Lawns, there were 150 starters and the top seven-year-old was only seventh. Two of the first three were 11 or older. Perhaps BS should rename it the seven-year-old and misfits class.
What this does tell you is that we need classes for people with older horses. But how can you expect an unexposed seven-year-old to compete against even an eight-year-old let alone an older one?
Using these classes as a benchmark gives a very bad perspective. So let’s stop mixing them in with the young ones as they go through such an important part of their production process.
Lummen last week was disappointing all round and I should have done better. I’m not making excuses, but I’ve had a real problem with my back and had treatment to try to nurse it through the show. But I was struggling to ride and came home early.
Other team members’ horses jumped OK, without doing anything special, but should do well given another chance. When it comes to choosing riders, it’s a fine line for performance manager Rob Hoekstra — especially with upcoming clashes with the LGCT — between educating new combinations and making it a baptism of fire.
Joe Clee is a positive addition for the first point-scoring round in Rome later this month, so let’s hope he comes up with the goods and is able to fill a championship place.
Billy Congo picked up a small injury in Lummen, which means he’s going to miss Royal Windsor.
I would have loved to ride him there and to enjoy a busy month with him to lift myself up the rankings in order to do the LGCT in London and the rest of the Global Champions Tour shows.
It’s a big setback, but there are still positives to come out of it. Billy Angelo is coming back into competition and, of course, Congo will now be available for fresh semen over the next two or three weeks. Form an orderly queue if you want some!
This article was first published in the 15 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine