Low BE entries - what’s up with that?

Bernster

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Similar to an earlier thread discussing unaff v what does BE offer. Bishop Burton and Dauntsey cancelled due to low entries. Low entries so far for Weston Lawns. And I saw post about an unaff at Cirencester also being low on numbers. Is this unusual - is it due to COVID and people not being ready/fit, not being able to afford it…?

I’m not a BE eventer but noticed these posts on Facebook and it got me curious.
 

asmp

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Similar to an earlier thread discussing unaff v what does BE offer. Bishop Burton and Dauntsey cancelled due to low entries. Low entries so far for Weston Lawns. And I saw post about an unaff at Cirencester also being low on numbers. Is this unusual - is it due to COVID and people not being ready/fit, not being able to afford it…?

I’m not a BE eventer but noticed these posts on Facebook and it got me curious.
Yet Wellington ran for over 4 days recently as they had so many entries.
 

RachelFerd

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I've blathered on about unaff/aff recently so won't do it again. But did note that Anvil Park were posting on their socials that they were experiencing low entries across BD and BS and unaffiliated shows, and that other centres also seemed to be facing low entries. So perhaps there is some degree of total oversaturation of the show calendar beyond just eventing and people simply aren't going out competing to justify the volume of opportunities out there?

Or perhaps the financial pinch of covid is actually finally making itself known? It has been a time of winners and losers - some people have padded their coffers and others have struggled. We've seen inflated horse prices, but it is only one side of the story and there are lots of people who have found their income reduced to varying degrees.
 

Bernster

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Hmm, yeah am trying to work out if it’s low across all, or just affiliated, or just BE. But this seems quite unusual which got me wondering if it was COVID and lockdown linked. That said there are loads of things on the first weekend of Oct for some reasons. Maybe some bad planning amongst everything else?!
 

Roxylola

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Imo
Money is a big one - unaffiliated is just a bit cheaper. Last year the employed but furloughed got 80% pay and had nowhere to go and nothing to spend money on. This year there's been the chance of holidays, some may still not be back to full work levels, or may be redundant after last year.
Also, on the money thing, when an unaffiliated event cancelled I've had a full refund all in one go BE, I got a bit, then a bit more, but not all. Tbh, I'd be happy if they'd kept the money to use against a later entry if it were fully transferable.
The ground, we seem to bounce from flood to drought and back. Now, I know they do lots to improve the ground in poor conditionsbut there is only so much to be done. Heavy rain increases the risk of needing to abandon.
On a personal level I try not to run a lot on hard ground although he prefers too hard to too soft, but this then also has to be factored in to my training so I've eased off while the ground has been hard and I'm not pushing to look for my next event. I'm also quite proud he has a clear xc record so far and to keep it that way I'm not keen to run on soft going either - he doesn't trust it.
Also, not much ran at all last year, affiliated or otherwise. This year we've been able to do some arena eventing - over and done in under an hour, unaffiliated dressage etc all of which we can do a couple of goes at 2 levels and still be done in a morning or afternoon - much easier with childcare etc to sort out. And just easier to plan round
 

Fern007

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I'm wondering if it has to do with covid? Many reports say there will be lockdowns of sorts during October so I'm wondering if the event organisers are just too wary of putting events on and if people are running unaff whilst they can as stuff may be cancelled later in year?
 

ester

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I understand not a good refund policy if you enter before the ballot either so it doesn't encourage earlier entries so then they end up cancelling instead.

I don't think it's covid induced, other than people being skint as it's been happening all summer. They're just not running events they don't have enough entries to not run at a loss.

Expensive and crap prizes compared to the unaffiliated that is now running
Some poor dates given so multiple events in one area (unaffiliated don't have their dates dictated by anyone)
- I think BE have dropped the ball a bit as the unaff stuff has been improving again over recent years.
 

McGrools

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Hi, i personally dont like how far in advance the ballot date is. 4 weeks is a long time in the horse world to commit £100 plus. I’m about to enter weston park and even they are struggling for enough entries by ballot date which i assume is very unusual. I dont like feeling pressured to enter under the threat they will cancel if not enough entries received by ballot date. I’m not sure how quick the refund will take to arrive if they do cancel.
Seems a bit stick rather than carrot to me.
There does seem to be plenty of choice in the calendar this year which must be affecting BE.
 

GinaGeo

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I think the Unaffiliated options being run at good ‘BE’ Venues have boomed since I last evented four years ago.

With the Brigante Cup in the North and the Cotswold Cup in the South there are enough opportunities and good venues to have a season without joining BE.

I have a young horse who I am planning to Event. I loved Eventing my other horse at Grassroots BE. It felt special. We were aiming for the Grassroots Champs and we got to ride at venues that we wouldn’t otherwise get to ride at.

But now I can do unaffiliated at the same venues, run by the same people. For less Entry Fee. Better cancellations. No ballots. Enter later. And without paying out for a membership. I could have a full and varied season upto 100 without running BE.

I think BE have missed a serious trick by not providing a current Grassroots champs. It’s a real shame. I love BE. But I won’t be rejoining yet.
 

RachelFerd

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Hi, i personally dont like how far in advance the ballot date is. 4 weeks is a long time in the horse world to commit £100 plus. I’m about to enter weston park and even they are struggling for enough entries by ballot date which i assume is very unusual. I dont like feeling pressured to enter under the threat they will cancel if not enough entries received by ballot date. I’m not sure how quick the refund will take to arrive if they do cancel.
Seems a bit stick rather than carrot to me.
There does seem to be plenty of choice in the calendar this year which must be affecting BE.
Weston has struggled for entries several times because it is considered to be a 'tough' course, it scares people off...
 

McGrools

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Weston has struggled for entries several times because it is considered to be a 'tough' course, it scares people off...
Yes i suppose its an end of season, lets put the practice to the test, championship type if course. But fabulous venue. I havent been scince they started doing the 80’s and 90’s but it does feel like a special venue. And v local! So hopefully it will run 🤞
 

ycbm

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I honestly think part of it is the 5 horses recently killed in transit to events (2 separate accidents) . I drove a horse down the M6 Smart 🙅 motorway a week ago and I was petrified the whole way.
.
 

Bernster

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Oh no I knew about the nick turner one but hadn’t realised there was another. it did make me think when I was out, I was extra careful about who was behind me and how fast they were going when we hit some traffic. I’ve also booked in for a service which the mechanic wasn’t able to do during the mot.
 

LEC

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I think its a nuanced answer. On my E-V post there is a lot of different answers but I do think there are several reasons:
Over-saturation
Finances
Inertia
Timing with going back to offices/workload
Issues with BE.

The very good 'special' events have not struggled. The ones with a bit of a reputation have. I quite like Dauntsey so don't see why it has such a reputation but I guess I come from that background of hunting. Pontispool in May was ridiculous. A horrible track at 100, just completely overdone by Eric Winter. Great if you are a pro wanting to educate ready for Novice. Lousy if you are an amateur on a greenish horse. It put a lot of people off going back, they also have tonnes of unaff round the same tracks. I have found this year that its a tricky job to challenge and encourage at 100. Eric's tracks have been tough this year at 100. He seems to have a bee in his bonnet about getting people better prepared for the next level. Which is fine unless you are not looking to be at the next level!! I thought his 2* at Hartpury asked plenty of questions and it used to be considered a lot friendlier. Now I would say it was top end.
 
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RachelFerd

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I think its a nuanced answer. On my E-V post there is a lot of different answers but I do think there are several reasons:
Over-saturation
Finances
Inertia
Timing with going back to offices/workload
Issues with BE.

The very good 'special' events have not struggled. The ones with a bit of a reputation have. I quite like Dauntsey so don't see why it has such a reputation but I guess I come from that background of hunting. Pontispool in May was ridiculous. A horrible track at 100, just completely overdone by Eric Winter. Great if you are a pro wanting to educate ready for Novice. Lousy if you are an amateur on a greenish horse. It put a lot of people off going back, they also have tonnes of unaff round the same tracks. I have found this year that its a tricky job to challenge and encourage at 100. Eric's tracks have been tough this year at 100. He seems to have a bee in his bonnet about getting people better prepared for the next level. Which is fine unless you are not looking to be at the next level!! I thought his 2* at Hartpury asked plenty of questions and it used to be considered a lot friendlier. Now I would say it was top end.
I think at all the levels we could do with a tiered system that makes specific provision for allocating softer and tougher tracks at 90/100/Nov, poss Int too (although that's beyond my lived experience!) with MER requirements based on completing the tougher tracks in order to move up. It is the perennial reason why Aston is so popular - you know that the grassroots and nov and int tracks will be at the softer end of the spectrum, and have alternatives where required. But that isn't adequate prep to move up.

Of course, the problem with doing this is that people will bleat on about the system being more complicated - but i'd say it is about being more transparent whilst ensuring that the standards of XC don't drop. overall. And no different to BD qualifications being based around getting certain percentages in the Q-demarcated 'harder' tests at each level.

I think there's also a bit of a general disconnect between the 'we just want to have a nice time and enjoy our horses' and 'we want to be competitive and improve' crowds - BE could cater to both, but needs to tailor its offering. Although there's a part of me that thinks the 'we just want to have a nice time' crowd, might be better off just enjoying fun rides and training and not bothering with competition (which, by its nature, is competitive)

Edited to add - I saw the course photos of Hartpury and thought thank god i hadn't entered it - looked much tougher by a country mile than some of the 2* shorts i've done...
 

LEC

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And this is another issue with BE there are 5 tiers as I see it:
Pros - aim 4/5*
Juniors/Young Riders - out at 2/3* regularly
Ambitious amateurs - aim 2/3* have ridden at Novice.
Competitive amateurs - very competent and competitive at 90- 100, might do a novice.
Fun Amateurs - happy just to be competing and enjoy the journey at 80-100. 100 is top of what they want to do.

These are very different groups in ability, mindset, and attitudes to training. Also in horsepower. BS gets away with it just about and dressage just has more championships to hit the mark. BE is probably a bit behind the curve and doesn’t quite know how to deal with them all. It’s getting better but some of their offerings like the 80/90 teams haven’t been done quite right IMO and they should look at the inter counties system of BD which a few of my friends have done and absolutely LOVE.
 

Spot_On03

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I think across the board everywhere seems to be low entries. Even the unaffiliated things round my way all have low attendance from what's been posted on social media.

Work, finances, time of year all have an impact. Also noticed cost of entry seems to be creeping up too. When you couple that with possible overnight accommodation for horse (and maybe rider) too, fuel, food quite an expense. Always find end of summer things go quiet as many families are finding that work/school/life balance again.
 

milliepops

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And this is another issue with BE there are 5 tiers as I see it:
Pros - aim 4/5*
Juniors/Young Riders - out at 2/3* regularly
Ambitious amateurs - aim 2/3* have ridden at Novice.
Competitive amateurs - very competent and competitive at 90- 100, might do a novice.
Fun Amateurs - happy just to be competing and enjoy the journey at 80-100. 100 is top of what they want to do.

These are very different groups in ability, mindset, and attitudes to training. Also in horsepower. BS gets away with it just about and dressage just has more championships to hit the mark. BE is probably a bit behind the curve and doesn’t quite know how to deal with them all. It’s getting better but some of their offerings like the 80/90 teams haven’t been done quite right IMO and they should look at the inter counties system of BD which a few of my friends have done and absolutely LOVE.
Inter counties is only for England I think, there isn't a corresponding one in Wales, not sure about Scotland. but agree with the theory and Wales sends a few teams to the Home International for BD each year which is similar. There are lots of opportunities for fun ,competitive and ambitious amateurs BD, it's a big part of the appeal I think.
 

ester

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Less so BS but (as someone who would def only ever be a fun amateur in anything, who is there to have a nice day over and above anything else :p) BD and BE wise you can also be there to improve on your last scores, so you can compete with yourself even if you are totally uncompetitive with the rest of the field.
 

Bob notacob

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I come across disechanted riders regularly. They put in all the effort and training but their wonderhorse (absolutely blinding xc and sj but was born with four left hooves when it comes to dressage. You kind of loose heart when you see a dressae3 horse which can just about make it round a 100 course beats your game jump anything horse.
 

dixie

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Ref oversaturation, I reckon there’s space for some events to branch out and do smaller courses. I’d like to have a go at my first HT (with current horse) but everything seems to start at 80cm. I want a nice inviting 60-70cm to try.
there’s a good point to this. Bicton used to have a tiny course and it was hired all the time. Now there’s nothing below 90 and I’m not sure you can hire it anymore.
It filters through up the amateur levels as if there’s nowhere to start and get the xc bug, then it’s difficult to progress and unlikely to join BE.
 

Roxylola

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Personally I think that's where unaffiliated could do better, the unaffiliated are in direct competition with BE in a lot of cases. With classes that are 80+ or doing lower rounds with workers fences. I think there's a market for 50/60/70 solid courses as well. Eland ran a 50 ode at the end of August so there is a market for it for sure.
I find it difficult as Charlie has a trailer and I've never towed (got hgv license though) so I'm reliant on my owner who's a single mum to 3. For us the focus tends to be training and things that don't require all day attendance because honestly it's boring for the kids, they like horses but it's not their everything. So a one day takes a lot of planning for childcare etc. While I don't expect them to provide a creche, and I certainly don't want agricultural show levels of goings on it might be worth investigating if there would be a desire for some more child friendly "things" in the trade stands. The fact there was a little playground at cholmondeley made it a huge hit for us but that was just lucky coincidence
 
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