So what has British Eventing done wrong?

RachelFerd

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Getting multiple orgs to work together seems fairly impossible. didn't they all have a bust up years back?

I do think it would be beneficial to have everything loosely under one umbrella. I can't imagine it ever happening, but as a thought experiment i like the idea.
Yep it's definitely pretty unfeasible. But I like asking the question of - if you were to totally redesign the system, start again and build something for the modern horseworld - what would you do?

Of course, working together is the last thing that any organisation seems capable of doing!!

Ps @Red-1 the original reason for split away from the BHS was because of charities commission I think, who didn't think it was appropriate for BHS as a charity to be running competitive organisations with no charitable objectives. Whereas education can sit under that umbrella.
 

Rowreach

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It's a while since I was involved in carriage driving in any way, but as with eventing, they need areas of open space with varied terrain and safe, well built obstacles - are they facing the same challenges, and is their organisation and structure working reasonably well?

It's certainly not a cheap sport to be involved in.
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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It's a while since I was involved in carriage driving in any way, but as with eventing, they need areas of open space with varied terrain and safe, well built obstacles - are they facing the same challenges, and is their organisation and structure working reasonably well?

It's certainly not a cheap sport to be involved in.
Worth asking rara that question x
 

ester

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As a shoe in for Rara :p

I think it's probably been similarly variable in recent years re. organisation management.

There have certainly been similar discussions re. diesel/entry costs for example they are running a 'gateway' class very cheaply at sandringham next week but there have been plenty of comments re. not affording the diesel and realistically it is an expensive sport to do even 'on the cheap' so I would anticipate- certainly at nationals level that the people already involved have a degree of cost of living buffer. (Basically I do stand in the parking field and wonder what the hell jobs are you all doing to be affording all of this 🤣).

They do- because of the accident risk involved- have mandatory assessments, even at the very first local/club level you have to be signed off to be ok to compete and there are further assessments later on.

Levels equivalent to BE you are going to have to travel a long way though to do a season, and that does mean there's no clashes or equivalent unaffiliated clashes.
 

teapot

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Just seen a Facebook post asking whether wee puddles on waxed surfaces could be counted as a hazard mid dressage test and dealt with there and then, rather than causing a horse to spook, or indeed having to -shock horror- ride through it…

Don’t get that issue on well draining grass!

Was it Ingird K who said at her 2019 clinic that she actively schools through puddles, or someone else?
 

Squeak

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Do you think that it would help if the disciplines supported each other a bit more?

Eg you could have bd and/ or bs running before or after or mixed with somehow a BE seeing as they have to have the show jumps and dressage arenas set up anyway. This would help reduce the costs of showjumps and stewards etc.

If they did this would the disciplines be able to prop each other up a bit more and get more competitors to one show or more profits?

I think there is a fundamental problem with costs at the moment. Diesel alone will make people think twice about travelling far.

Also... We're praising BE for reacting to low entries so quickly with the introduction of Go BE and the reduction in the PAYG costs BUT if it was for the unaff events competing with them, would they have done it? So has competition from unaff actually caused BE to assess what they're doing, not have a monopoly and do something they think there was a need for?

We're all talking about BE vs unaff but tbh if BE was doing a good job, would this even be an issue? I for one would be going BE if it wasn't more expensive and had a better fixtures calendar, others on the thread have said that they're only going unaff because there's better championships.
 

spacefaer

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I know I harp back to the "good old days" but UA ie events run by the local PC & RC used to take you up to being confident round a 3'3/6 course, then if you wanted to go further, you'd affiliate and join the Horse Trials group and go Novice. It was a system that worked very well.
I guess BE have been trying to replicate that with the 80/90 etc.
Costs have obviously escalated so that individual PCs /RCs can't afford to run ODEs or Hunter trials as they did
I'm assuming BE - being a bottom heavy structure - can't afford to run Nov-Adv without the lower levels subsidising them?
Regardless of competition expectations from eventing amateurs (as discussed) , something will have to change drastically as BE are losing out to the UA for all the reasons already mentioned.

I used to be able to go to an affiliated event every single weekend from the beginning of March (starting at Stilemans) through to October (finishing at either Aldon or Tweseldown 1*) without travelling much more than 2 hours every time. We also went eventing mid week too. I couldn't do that now, regardless of the cost!
 

GoldenWillow

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Do you think that it would help if the disciplines supported each other a bit more?

Eg you could have bd and/ or bs running before or after or mixed with somehow a BE seeing as they have to have the show jumps and dressage arenas set up anyway. This would help reduce the costs of showjumps and stewards etc.

If they did this would the disciplines be able to prop each other up a bit more and get more competitors to one show or more profits?
When I was looking to see what affiliated events were on in our area there were two BD fixtures on their schedule running alongside a BE fixture but these had cancelled next to them.

One thing I have noticed over the last decade or more in unaffiliated SJ is classes getting smaller. 15 years ago you would have a minimum of 20 in most classes and often over 30. I've noticed over the last 10 years classes have nowhere near that number now, and now most classes seem to struggle to get into double figures. This was also my friend's experience doing unaffiliated dressage this year. Whilst the comp centres and riding clubs obviously find this viable if you add in the extra costs that affiliated events have I can see why they are not run.
 

ester

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Definitely, shortly before I got F (2005) I used to go out with friends and jumping classes at local/village shows would run 2'3-3'3 (sometimes a smaller ring too) and take all day 30 easily in classes. That tailed off completely 15 would be a lot 10 years after that (not so aware of the situ right now) and many of those shows stopped running, though there does seem to be a bit of a comeback in recent years.

Although I was also one who stopped jumping at local shows and only jumped at centres for a couple of reasons.
The course building got dire at many of them random half stride double distances etc.
The ground would be rock hard to fall onto, not too worried about the pony but all of my injury inducing falls had been onto hard ground and we had 3/4 arenas running unaff within 30 mins travel.
 

I'm Dun

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It's a while since I was involved in carriage driving in any way, but as with eventing, they need areas of open space with varied terrain and safe, well built obstacles - are they facing the same challenges, and is their organisation and structure working reasonably well?

It's certainly not a cheap sport to be involved in.
There's been issues with driving for a long time. They have a very successful low level affiliated indoor series that attracts lots of people and culminates in a big championship. The higher level affiliated outdoor stuff is struggling. The last one I did had 3 entrants in the novice class, probably equivalent of BE90 sort of level.

People don't make the leap for lots of reasons, and that was before the current financial climate which I cant imagine has helped.

There's been lots of attempts to bridge the gap, but none have worked and they are so poorly advertised they don't get supported. I gave it up as there wasnt a sensible middle ground where I could run outdoors but without being made to stay away for 4 or 5 days at a time in order to do so. And the distances involved were generally enormous. The organisation that runs the higher level doesnt do a brilliant job all considered and is very much an old boys club.

This was all pre covid, so I dont know for certain if anything has changed for the better but I very much doubt it!
 

ester

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I think it can be quite location specific, between blandings and ashfields you could run plenty at club level on a 1 day basis if you were here. But the indoor season would be further away.
 

shortstuff99

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Talking of riding club, I'm running the area qualifier in july at Offchurch (which qualifies you for a long format championships) and the entry is only £60. Still not getting a lot of entries so I'm not sure what competitors are after really!

Keysoe have set up their own unaffiliated SJ series called KISS which goes from 80-1.30m with prize money and they're getting loads of entries!
 
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I just think there is a real problem in this country about training vs competing. Most other countries tend to have more emphasis on training. In USA it often goes too far with hand holding by having your trainer there for every phase.
Showing culture is out of control in the States, honestly. There is a lot of talk right now that we are creating competitors and not riders or horsemen because people show relentlessly and never spend time at home training. In my area of the States it is very hard, if not impossible, to get a place at a good yard if you won't compete. Trainers need clients to show because they make far more money at the show collecting training fees for the day and selling horses than they do at home teaching lessons. Some require you show a certain amount of times per month or year, and many better yards pick up and relocate their entire operation to shows that are hours from home for weeks or months at a time. And I see very, very scary riding and unprepared riders at 75cm and 80cm with their trainers right by the side of the ring yelling instructions - last weekend I saw a rider fall at 75cm because he couldn't sit an awkward jump, another fall at 80cm because they couldn't see a distance and the horse hit the brakes, and a near-rotational fall at 80cm because the horse was entirely unsuitable and being ridden poorly.
 

TheHairyOne

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I've heard the type of rider/competitor i am being ungenerously referred to as 'the middle aged cash cow' for trainers. I like to train. I like to improve. I love to learn. I have zero competitive ambitions other than to have a good ride and to be better than the last time I went out.

Training v's competing...I can train and train and train with the lack of pressure and its still not going to make me any better when I go competing. I need to train myself to compete as nerves (and not just about the actual task at hand but the entire day, getting there, timings etc) have a horrible habit of taking over, which is not fair on my horse.

Maybe I need to find a different type of coaching to find ways to work around this, I dont know. For me though I have to know that the level I compete at should be 'easy' v's the level we are training at othewise I can not ride with confidence and my (limited) skills fall apart which isnt fair on the horse.

A perfect sjing comp for me would be a 70 - 100 class. Once i've got going its ok, but the idea of riding to a 100cm as the first fence leaves me feeling cold just thinking about it.

So I am one of these who will probably never get out of the grass roots part of the sport. I would never have got into it at all without the smaller classes and unaffiliated.

BE have had my money for a few 80's. They would have had none of it without UA 70's. Who would have had none of that if it hadnt been for the 50-60cm training courses.

And the feeling of having ridden nicely around a 70 is worth far more to me than piling the pressure on my horse through either ineffective, or worse awful, riding at anything bigger!

So what have they done wrong, maybe its all kinds of small things that have added up. But for a rider like me, I am much more likely to enter something if i can go an ride around the place first schooling, jumping the fences above my class height, getting a bit of familiarity with the venue, especially given the price tag that comes with it. I am also sure I am not the only one who feels like this.

Im not eventing at all this year though due to the cost involved in getting myself ready for it. Sticking to dressage and SJing as I can train for both of those things at home.
 

Ambers Echo

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There is space enough in the sport for everyone! HO - there are some venues that do mixed height rounds at XC. Choose your own course within a range of 3 heights. Ie do an 80 course with the option of the odd 70 or 90 fence. Obviously can't fo that SJ but I think it's a good idea x
 

ester

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Stop making us use up our free articles limit 😂.

Did they run many? I was never particularly aware of them happening when I lived 20 minutes away.
 

spacefaer

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In a statement released today (21 June), the Barbury Castle Estate said it was “saddened” to confirm that there would be no more meetings, at what has been a racing and po
“We are saddened to announce on behalf of the Barbury Castle Estate that a difficult decision has been taken to cease point-to-point racing at the estate this season and into the foreseeable future,” the statement read. “This decision has been taken in conjunction with the organisers of three race meetings hosted at the estate – the Barbury International, the Vine and Craven and the Tedworth.

“The decision to cease point-to-point racing at Barbury is a result of the current highly challenging economic environment. The course has been operating at a loss for a number of years, which has been compounded by the cancellation of meetings during the Covid pandemic and a significant reduction in sponsorship revenues. Against this backdrop, surging inflation has also substantially raised the costs of maintaining the course and the required multi-year capital investment programme. These factors have resulted in a continuation of point-to-point racing at Barbury becoming no longer viable in the current climate.

“No firm decision has been taken on the long-term future of the point-to-point course.”

Barbury Castle International Horse Trials, which runs from 7 to 10 July this year, is unaffected by this decision.

Molly King, honourable secretary of the Tedworth meeting, told H&H the decision was “very disappointing, but unfortunately with increasing costs it’s something that had to happen”.

“We’re looking at our options for an alternative location for our point-to-point to relocate to – I can say it won’t be Larkhill though as their calendar is already too busy to accommodate more fixtures,” she said.

Racing took place at the Wiltshire estate until 1962, when the land was put into agricultural production. In 1992, the racecourse was reopened and meetings were added, helping make Barbury a popular choice for trainers, owners and spectators. Between 1995 and 2000, the Babury estate staged the only timber race in the UK; the Marlborough Cup.
 

Ambers Echo

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Waiting anxiously to hear if Stafford is running. They have posted a couple of ‘last chance to enter’ and ‘decision to run today’ posts. In the comments people are trying to enter but can’t - they are assuming there’s a problem with the website. I guess they can’t believe it’s this hard ON PURPOSE!
 

Tiddlypom

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Waiting anxiously to hear if Stafford is running. They have posted a couple of ‘last chance to enter’ and ‘decision to run today’ posts. In the comments people are trying to enter but can’t - they are assuming there’s a problem with the website. I guess they can’t believe it’s this hard ON PURPOSE!
I was eye rolling at the poster who was put off entering the 100 because of all the well known top pros who are entered at Stafford.

That's a highlight of eventing - warming up alongside team GB members and other international riders. They'll be on younger and less experienced horses, anyway.

I do hope that Stafford runs. The organisers posted that it may be their last year anyway because of the encroachment of HS2.
 

Ambers Echo

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I was eye rolling at the poster who was put off entering the 100 because of all the well known top pros who are entered at Stafford.

That's a highlight of eventing - warming up alongside team GB members and other international riders. They'll be on younger and less experienced horses, anyway.

I do hope that Stafford runs.
I know! Bonkers. It was the highlight of Katie’s day when she was in the SJ warm up at same time as Oli Townend at Kelsall x
 

RachelFerd

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Waiting anxiously to hear if Stafford is running. They have posted a couple of ‘last chance to enter’ and ‘decision to run today’ posts. In the comments people are trying to enter but can’t - they are assuming there’s a problem with the website. I guess they can’t believe it’s this hard ON PURPOSE!
I'm waiting on hearing about Stafford AND Aske. If Aske cancels I'll need to try and get an entry for Buckminster instead. Annoyingly Upton is already full to bursting (midweek - full of pros) so can't use that as my back-up plan. I do need to find some novice runs pre-Gatcombe somehow...
 

RachelFerd

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I'm waiting on hearing about Stafford AND Aske. If Aske cancels I'll need to try and get an entry for Buckminster instead. Annoyingly Upton is already full to bursting (midweek - full of pros) so can't use that as my back-up plan. I do need to find some novice runs pre-Gatcombe somehow...
Oh FFS.

Aske is cancelled... So on to a fairly pointless trip to Buckminster to jump a fairly boring track we did last year...
 

ycbm

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That's a highlight of eventing - warming up alongside team GB members and other international riders.
Even better when you beat them, especially when they've blocked the cross country warm up fences holding court telling an audience that the horse that are on is half brother to their Olympic horse 😁 (not a current GB team member, long ago now).
 

Goldenstar

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I personally think the lower levels are a good thing .
In the so called good old days unaffiliated courses where frankly often extremely iffy BE gong in at that level has raised standards .
I know there many whose riding and preparation is not at the level it needs to be I particularly worry about the far to fat horse you see at the lower levels .
Some people will never improve no matter want ,some will use the lower levels to look up and strive to be better.
On eventing and elitism yes there is elitism and I do think it worse than it used to be and yes I think it does put some people off .

But the real problem is the cost it’s extremely expensive there’s not other way to look at it .
 
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RachelFerd

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And now Stafford is gone.
And I've emailed Buckminster who say they won't remove the late fees for rerouted entries. Massive facepalm.
 

Squeak

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Oh that's a real shame about Aske and Stafford. I do think that more than anything this year it's the costs that are keeping people from eventing. Diesel alone adds on another 100 minimum to the day.

It will be interesting to see how the unaff's get on entry wise going forward and whether they will start to drop entries too. I think they've possibly got that bit more of a buffer where they're cheaper anyway.

Late entries are still open for Bengrove and I was impressed to see on instagram they were out watering at 10pm last night so hopefully they should have good ground.
 
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