The owner of a talented mule banned from competing by British Dressage is celebrating – after a U-tun by officials.
Wallace The Great had been refused permission to take part in official events because she’s not a horse.
Owner Christie Mclean, 31, was told her mule could not have membership of British Dressage.
Wallace has competed in several unaffiliated competitions in the past year and impressed judges.
But she can now take part in full official events after officials lifted their ban.
Christie a yard manager from Stroud, Glos., said: “I did not expect this to happen.
”I just thought we might be able to raise a small amount of awareness of the other equines of the world; I’m over the moon.
“I couldn’t believe the number of people who said they’d be fine with it; I could count the negative comments on one hand.
“And I do understand; if the boot was on the other foot, I might wonder how my pony would react but any competition I have entered and will enter, I will make sure every horse and rider is happy with my presence before I do anything.”
Wallace was found abandoned wandering around a village in Ireland.
She now plans to enter the “incredibly intelligent” and “good as gold” mule in a team quest competition and also hopes to compete in other BD events.
BD chief executive Jason Brautigam said: “We are grateful this situation has been brought to our attention so we can now ensure our rules are brought in line with the Federation Equestre Internationale.
“We are delighted to welcome Wallace and his fellow mules to compete with BD, as part of our commitment to inclusion and diversity in dressage, making the sport more accessible to all.”
Wallace, who is owned by the Donkey Sanctuary and fostered by Christie’s friend Lesley Radcliffe, had already scored as high as 70 per cent in unaffiliated intro-level tests.
Christie said: “They just said no, and I really want a valid reason why.
“He’s so intelligent it’s incredible. He’s got a sharper brain than my own competition horse. It’s just a shame – he could turn out to be the most amazing little diva.”
And Christie added that, at 14 hands high, riding the 11-year-old mule is “exactly the same” as riding a horse.
She said: “He’s very sweet and laid-back, and he never brays when we’re out. He just looks like a nice New Forest pony – the only difference is his ears are pretty enormous.”