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HOYS to usher in video for some qualifiers after considerations about judging

  • VIDEO recording is to be introduced in some Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers after concerns were raised about judging.

    HOYS organiser Grandstand Media announced the measure, which will apply to a select number of qualifying classes, this month, in response to issues raised about some of the judging at a number of recent fixtures.

    Grandstand released a statement after both competitors and non-competitors who attended the North of England summer show at Arena UK on the 25 to 26 June voiced concerns.

    “As a result of these concerns, HOYS will be undertaking a thorough investigation and discussing with [the British Show Pony Society] BSPS, [National Pony Society] NPS and other societies as appropriate,” the statement read.

    “Going forward, Horse of the Year Show believes that the most effective prevention of these occurrences is the improved education of both judges and competitors, which will be discussed with the relevant societies. In addition, HOYS will look to implement video recording of selected classes at a variety of shows to ensure appropriate monitoring.

    “Thank you for your understanding, and please rest assured that the integrity of the sport is our primary concern.”

    Sarah Chapman of The Showing Register (TSR) told H&H: “The Showing Register welcomed the videoing of HOYS qualifiers held at our summer show as we had the utmost confidence in our judges, but as far as we’re aware nothing was recorded.”

    H&H showing editor Alex Robinson, who competed at HOYS last year, said that although it is very important showing maintains its integrity, and is as fair as possible, “part of showing is that it’s the opinion of a specific judge, on a specific day”.

    “What the judge sees from the middle of the ring is different to what the spectators, or other competitors, see, and I think this could bring judges’ integrity into question,” she said. “I also think there may be problems with videoing in terms of safeguarding, as many competitors are children.

    “We all expect to be judged fairly and I think something needs a shake-up but I don’t know if this will work; it will be interesting to see how HOYS decides to implement it.”

    Alex added: “If competitors are annoyed about results, or feel unfairly judged, there are complaints procedures in place. If the industry feels these procedures aren’t robust enough, maybe they need to be looked at instead.”

    HOYS event director Jane Warmington told H&H: “The fairness and integrity of the sport is paramount to Horse of the Year Show, and with this in mind we will be looking to implement new strategies to help ensure this.

    “These include the use of video recording of classes and monitoring of judging to ensure compliance with society rules and practices. We will also be working with all the relevant societies to ensure better education of both judges and competitors.

    “No more details of the investigation will be shared until this is concluded to avoid any further complication or disruption.”

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