Entrance to Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) hunter qualifiers will be open only to members of the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) with immediate effect.
The decision has been made following overwhelming requests from competitors and exhibitors to retain personal choice regarding headwear.
Previously, members of Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain (SHBGB) were the only persons eligible to compete in Horse of the Year Show hunter qualifiers and finals. However, a recent rule regarding headwear in hunter classes was made by the society. This rule change requires SHBGB members to wear a harnessed hat conforming to current BSI or European standards at all times while competing and mounted in its classes.
This rule change presents a conflict. Under HOYS rules, competitors aged 18 years or older, who are competing in non-jumping or flat sections of hunter qualifiers, are allowed to make their own decision as to whether they wish to wear traditional top hats, bowlers or Pateys, or harnessed hat conforming to current BSI or European standards.
There are strong links to traditional attire in these classes and this has been expressed passionately by those who compete in these classes. With this in mind, the adult competitor should have the freedom of choice regarding headwear in flat classes, until such time as it becomes legislation for all riders to wear harnessed hat conforming to current BSI or European standards.
A meeting was held between HOYS and SHBGB to discuss the conflict. Unfortunately, a compromise was unable to be reached.
To allow competitors to continue to make a headwear choice for themselves, the BSHA was approached regarding opening HOYS hunter qualifiers and finals to its members.
Under BSHA rules, top hats, bowlers and Pateys may be worn by competitors aged 18 years and over at their discretion.
The response was positive and, as a result, hunter qualifiers and finals are now open to members of the BSHA only. This includes the affiliation of shows hosting qualifiers. This decision was made to simply allow freedom of choice for competitors and judges.
Any individuals who have already affiliated with SHBGB with the sole aim of contesting HOYS hunter qualifiers is advised to contact the HOYS office on 01582 711411
Grandstand Media Ltd would like to reiterate that should a showground’s rules require all mounted persons to wear a harnessed hat conforming to current BSI or European standards, those rules take precedence.