Horse Power NEC Taupō NEC Christchurch

Dealing with Protests and Complaints

This page has information for Ground Juries on dealing with protests and complaints at ESNZ Events

Some important points for Ground Juries in dealing with protests.

  • As a Ground Jury member, at an event, who may have the job of dealing with a protest situation, it’s important to remember that your decision can have an effect on a result, that could have lasting repercussions for one or more competitors.
  • It’s vital that the sports’ rules are being upheld but also that health and safety and welfare of the horse are put above any aspirations, however great or small they may be.
  • Your job is always to apply the rules so that there remains a level playing field, at all times.
  • Always remain impartial.
  • Be professional and calm at all times.
  • Never put anyone down or criticise anyone’s actions.
  • Never offer a view or opinion until you’ve heard both sides of the story.
  • Make sure you have fully heard both sides of the story, and gathered any supporting evidence supplied, before discussing, as a Ground Jury, privately and without interruption (and make considerations if the competition is still taking place).
  • The person putting in the protest or being protested about has a fair opportunity to be heard on the matters in issue.
  • Be empathetic – put yourself in their shoes.
  • You are always part of a team – never act alone.
  • You are free from bias (including apparent bias) or pre-determination.
  • Perception can often be mistaken for reality so be careful to avoid perception.
  • It is important that any decision maker is as independent as possible, and conflicts of interests are minimised.
  • Don’t be in a hurry to leave the event as a protest decision needs careful consideration that is not rushed.
  • Consider whether the issue gave an advantage or disadvantage.
  • Consider the outcome options as the solution may not always be black or white.


Ground Jury FAQs

During what time at the event can a protest be lodged?

During what time at the event can a complaint be lodged?

What differentiates a protest from a complaint?

Do competitors have to use the official protest and complaint forms if they wish to lodge a protest or complaint?

A competitor is unsure about putting a protest in, after witnessing another competitor breaking the rules, can they discuss this with a GJ member first?

A Jumping competitor has a rail down in the ring, that they were penalised for, which they feel was not their fault, can they protest this?

A competitor wishes to protest a jump in a XC course, the day before this is to be ridden, what is the process and timeline for this?

Can video coverage be used as evidence for a protest?

A rider removes his helmet for the award ceremony, while still mounted.  He puts it back on, undone, to leave the ring.  Five minutes later another competitor (further down the placings) lodges a protest against the rider who removed their helmet.  Is this a protestable offence?

A class has just finished, and one rider comes forward, claiming that the winner of the class was seen whipping her horse excessively in the warmup.  What course of action do you take?

You are an official at an event and witness a form of horse abuse (Article 132), outside the ring. What steps can you take?