As you may be aware quite a few British Showjumping rule changes came into effect from the 1st of January this year and many of them will affect you. I want to briefly go through the changes that affect whips, spurs and fetlock boots, not because of my own personal peccadilloes but because I feel that these are the rule changes that will have the biggest effect on “Your average rider” whoever and whatever he or she is. We shall just have to draw a discrete veil over aforementioned peccadilloes at this stage! In looking at the changes the principle driver is horse welfare and that has to be a good thing.
I was talking with a senior BS Judge a few days ago and she told me that having gone on an update course with BS the whole core of the course seemed to stem from the perspective of horse welfare, not just what and how we use equipment but also how courses where laid out to impose the lowest physical impact on competing horses and I have to say these changes are both timely and positive. The bulk of those who compete here at Eland are hobby riders not professionals, they typically have one or perhaps two horses and these horses are usually friends, they are very expensive friends but they play a huge part in our lives. Any rule change that promotes improved horse welfare is to our advantage and that of our furry friend in that it legislates against those who would compromise horse welfare in the pursuit of victory.
The other key reason you need to understand these rules is of course, if you compete at almost any level you will be riding subject to them. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t affiliated to BS, most shows will run subject to BS rules and speaking as a Show Organiser you can’t run subject to this rule and not subject to that rule, you take them all or not at all!