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Horse Show Riders Dismounted Based on Weight
 By Saferaphus   •   3rd Nov 2016   •   1,239 views   •   6 comments


Riders at the 2016 Horse of the Year show were judged on more than their riding skills or their horse’s conformation. Judges and officials called out anyone they deemed to be too large for the size of the horse they are riding. Competitors attending the 2016 HOYS were informed that they would be judged on ‘suitability’. Under new rules, if a rider is thought to be too large for the horse or pony they are on, they will be asked to dismount. Veterinarians, stewards, and officials have the authority to ask a rider to dismount, whether they are in the show ring, warm-up areas or anywhere else on the grounds at any time during the show - even before or after the show begins.

Why this move by HOYS? It’s all part of a push to ensure the humane treatment of horses. Using the guideline of 20% of the horse’s bodyweight, show organizers are hoping to prevent riders who are too heavy for their horses to comfortably carry from riding an unsuitable horse. How is this determined? If any official saw a rider who they felt may be too large for their mount, they were asked to dismount. On the grounds a scale for both horse and rider was used if the rider disputed the judgment.

At a another show last summer, eight people were asked to dismount, all of them adults schooling children’s ponies. But, adults riding ponies before the kids mount up is not really the driving force behind the rules although many claim it is. Many feel overweight riders are an obvious welfare issue.

Now you get to read what I think of this. The issue of kids’ ponies being schooled by adults and competitors riding horses that can’t comfortably carry them are two different things and should be approached differently. Ponies being shown at the level these shows are, shouldn’t need tuning up by an adult at the show. If it’s a good pony, it should be suitable for the child riding it, and not need to be tuned up by an adult. There are shows that have rules that are effective to prevent this already. Why reinvent the wheel? Do what they are doing.

I think an overall ‘awareness’ education program would be more effective to tackle the problem of heavier riders stressing horses that aren’t suitable. If this is truly a common horse welfare concern, it is probably a bigger problem in backyards and small shows than it is in high profile shows like HOYS.

And are a few ‘overweight riders’ a bigger welfare issue than something like poorly fitting saddles? Even skinny, super athletic riders can be riding in a saddle that can damage their horse’s back. In the spirit of horse welfare, isn’t this a more pressing issue? And, the most petite rider can be a burden on their horse’s back depending on how they ride.

So what is at play here? The weight ratio of horse and rider can certainly be an issue. But, maybe it’s only an issue that’s being tackled because when it does occur, it’s very obvious. Poorly fitting saddles, horses with sore mouths because their teeth haven’t been looked after, horses with ulcers because they are stressed - things like those may well be more serious horse welfare concerns - but no one is pointing those out. They’re not obvious. But the ‘weight' of the rider depends on a lot of things - the horse’s build and rider skill for example. It’s just easier to ‘shame’ someone that doesn’t fit a guideline that is only a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. What do you think?
Horse News More In This Category:  Shows and Events      Horse News More From This Author:  Saferaphus
Valkyrie  MOD 
I think it's pretty sensible. It's one thing for a horse to tow a heavy load, but a heavy weight directly on its back (especially if the rider can't ride well) would be detrimental to the horse's health.
  Nov 4, 2016  •  1,299 views
 
pending sale 2017  
I approve of this 100%!

At home if my childs pony was playing up I would get on it to sort out the issue, but only if I felt the pony could carry me. Fortunate for me am a small ish rider so have always got away with ponys. xD
  Nov 4, 2016  •  1,294 views
 
Valkyrie  MOD 
Pug: I'm 5'10" so I haven't tried riding ponies since I was about 10 lol
  Nov 5, 2016  •  1,271 views
 
pending sale 2017  
Am 5ft1 haha the only thing that lets me down now is baby belly I sti llhave! Must loose that xD
  Nov 6, 2016  •  1,263 views
 
The Native Neddies
I agree with you! This is totally fair I mean look at all those teenagers on exmors and dartmoors in HOYS picture's last year!

(This lady is using cowboy style spurs for starters which aren't allowed in this country (england) anymore, and that poor shetland clearly isnt enjoying it! And also she is not holding her reins propally either! Sorry, I am very picky, I know!)

Now i class myself being too tall for shetlies! And I am only ten.
  Nov 7, 2016  •  1,239 views
 
Pastel  
I think you really need to research your topic before you upload video footage.
As I've said on the forum, admin should be checking content.
That video is isn't showing what you think it is.
  Nov 9, 2016  •  1,216 views
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