So what has British Eventing done wrong?

RachelFerd

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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.
This is, I suspect, the end for the one-off/parkland events - the equestrian centres have the buffer because their facilities are permanent. With each cancellation I keep having to drive further away, making it more expensive each time. It's all very well that Bengrove is watering, but it's totally useless for anyone aiming for double clears and qualifying runs (or running above grassroots).

Upton is full and Barbury is full. The international events are largely surviving as pros are bringing lorry-loads of horses. Upton is a beautiful event and always popular, but also useful for all the pros as is mid-week.

The balance of events is now very heavily to the south of the country - perhaps reflecting where most of the £££ is... but I don't know how you come back from here. Without events you won't have members, and without members you won't have events :(
 

Gamebird

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This is, I suspect, the end for the one-off/parkland events - the equestrian centres have the buffer because their facilities are permanent.
The problem is, as I think Ian Stark referred to last week, that the Askes and Skiptons etc. are the courses you MUST learn to jump (both horse and rider) to progress to Bramham etc. Allerton would be another example. They are a world away from a lot of the permanent (or portable-centric) EC tracks. Remove these from the calendar and you leave a massive educational hole. Which becomes a safety concern.
 

TheMule

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The problem is, as I think Ian Stark referred to last week, that the Askes and Skiptons etc. are the courses you MUST learn to jump (both horse and rider) to progress to Bramham etc. Allerton would be another example. They are a world away from a lot of the permanent (or portable-centric) EC tracks. Remove these from the calendar and you leave a massive educational hole. Which becomes a safety concern.
Maybe they need to stop awarding FEI classes to the EC venues? I can’t believe how many FEI events there are now- it used to be a much more limited calendar, mostly at the big stately homes.
 

GinaGeo

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I had dreamed of returning to eventing. But this year pretty much all of the events I aspired to run at have been cancelled, I didn't aspire to jump round the same boring flat courses, made up of portables that get transported round the country week in, week out. We specifically travelled to the one-off interesting Parkland Events. That was why we did BE. They were tougher, and you were less likely to jump a double clear and qualify for something. But the excitement of rolling into these fabulous venues, and competing alongside the pro's was really special. And you really found out what you were sat on, even at the lowly BE100s we were doing.

I too fear that this is the end of the "Eventing" that I fell in love with, and I'm almost glad that my young horse wasn't ready for it this year. I've managed to swerve the first hand disappointment. But I do feel dreadfully for those that are trying to educate horses and enjoy it. We put so much into our horses, their education, carefully planning the diary and the prep - that it really does smart.

I don't know what the answer is - I've been out of it for awhile now, but always with an eye for returning.

But if the events don't run, people will redirect their attention elsewhere, and where do you go from there.
 

RachelFerd

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Maybe they need to stop awarding FEI classes to the EC venues? I can’t believe how many FEI events there are now- it used to be a much more limited calendar, mostly at the big stately homes.
I could be wrong here, but isn't there an FEI preference for all weather surfaces for SJ and DR where possible? So can see why the ECs would have an advantage if that's a criteria being taken into consideration.
 

Goldenstar

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I think they do prefer a surface , it makes the weather less of an issue and it is all round easier .
There’s cost saving as well as much infrastructure is already in place at a EC.
There’s so much against the park courses now their costs are just so much higher and cancellation is a huge worry , a wet but runnable day causes damage to the park which has to be repaired at their cost .It must be a headache from start to finish .
 

Squeak

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I too fear that this is the end of the "Eventing" that I fell in love with, and I'm almost glad that my young horse wasn't ready for it this year. I've managed to swerve the first hand disappointment. But I do feel dreadfully for those that are trying to educate horses and enjoy it. We put so much into our horses, their education, carefully planning the diary and the prep - that it really does smart.
Definitely this. Whatever everyone's reasons for not being able to event this year. It's very sad to see eventing lose all these venues. I just hope that they come back next year or that in the future we can get them back.

There are so many people who love and live for eventing and put so much into their horses and training etc. So many are already devastated to not be able to be running BE due to costs and the others that can run still are having the issues that RF is running into with all the events being cancelled and costs going up even more due to travelling further.

I still think the fundamental issue this year is money and costs at a much higher/ fundamental level than BE can be even vaguely responsible for.

Side thought that popped into my head - Have people potentially wiped out their financial buffers buying the horse in the first place too with the increase in horse prices? Especially if they used a loan or credit card to buy it then they've already got extra costs.

Also I don't think Covid has been mentioned very much on this thread - potentially the more challenging parkland events don't have as many horses that have gained the runs and experience over the last couple of years due to covid so we've lost some entries that way too?
 

EventingMum

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The problem is, as I think Ian Stark referred to last week, that the Askes and Skiptons etc. are the courses you MUST learn to jump (both horse and rider) to progress to Bramham etc. Allerton would be another example. They are a world away from a lot of the permanent (or portable-centric) EC tracks. Remove these from the calendar and you leave a massive educational hole. Which becomes a safety concern.
Totally agree, even Aske's show jumping is a challenge due to the undulating ground. Back in the day Aske and Witton Castle were well worth travelling to and gave a real test as to whether or not you were really established at a level.
 

ycbm

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I just feel so relieved that I'm too old to want to do it now, and got to compete when eventing affiliated was still really special and an enormous achievement, at places like Sansaw, Storeton, Henbury, Tetton, Lyme, Belton and Osmaston, none of which are running any more and Catton and Weston (Autumn) event, which are cancelled this year.
.
 
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teapot

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This is def worth one article credit:

https://www.horseandhound.co.uk/new...cross-country-as-safety-work-continues-792947

Piggy added that riders need to take responsibility in producing and educating their horses.

“I think more probably needs to be done in terms of being realistic on what events are ‘proper qualifications’ in terms of standard, and when to move up a level. We don’t need more qualifications, just the right ones that educate horses and riders to prepare them for the next level. We’re obviously losing some events and we need to look at whether it’s down to financial difficulty or a new era of riders just going to places that are easier,” she said.

“Some of the old-fashioned courses maybe don’t get as much support from the riders as they used to, but looking back, many top-level horses got produced and ran various times at a lot of these old-fashioned events.

“I don’t know whether people are getting very protective about records or reputation and so go for easier options. It’s knowing which event we’re preparing for and being realistic about how we qualified and if our horse is ready for this.”


Pippa, who described herself as an “old fart, like Ian”, believes the old long format, with steeplechase and roads and tracks, provided a good education for horse and rider, particularly about riding soft brush and speed, and teaching that there are no quick ways to get horses fit. She believes some riders take short cuts or do not understand the importance of fitness, which is vital for safety.

“People need to learn to ride on different terrains, keeping a horse on its feet and keeping them balanced down hills and through the woods – but they can’t learn that doing arena cross-country schooling or on very flat courses. These courses have a place in the sport, but I think people mustn’t try to think of them as easy routes to get qualified. There mustn’t be an easy route,” she said.

“Some riders are absolutely natural and very good, but as we know, eventing is a risk sport and for the sake of its future, people have got to analyse their rounds.

“There will always be the occasional fall – I’m not saying there aren’t going to be moments where you have to dig deep – but we have to be very aware of the horse’s welfare and wellbeing and the image it creates.”
 
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TPO

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I wonder if equestrian sports/eventing is dropped by the Olympics of it'll go back to long format.

I can't remember as many tired horses (being "encouraged" home) with long format but every chance I'm looking back with Rose tinted specs
 
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RachelFerd

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I wonder if equestrian sports/eventing is dropped by the Olympics of it'll go back to long format.

I can't remember as many tired horses (being "encouraged" home) with long format but wary chance I'm looking back with Rose tinted specs
I think it might be a bit rose specs, but also a bit because there was more TB blood across the board.
 

LEC

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I wonder if equestrian sports/eventing is dropped by the Olympics of it'll go back to long format.

I can't remember as many tired horses (being "encouraged" home) with long format but every chance I'm looking back with Rose tinted specs
No - ask any of the riders who still event now and they hated it. Mary king who arguably had more success in that era wouldn’t go back, again Andrew Hoy is another. It’s not horse friendly and you would not see horses like Vanir Kamira going at 17 yet alone the prices horses at 19. Most retired at 12-13 years old. More horses broke down and tbh it’s why eventing had a poor rep in the sjing. We have a good sport now, we just have some issues. Tbh it’s not the young riders who are the issue! They were amazing at Badminton and Bramham and have never done long format. All MJ horses are around 75% -80% blood which is pretty identical to what Ginny and Mary would have ridden.
 

Lyle

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This is def worth one article credit:

https://www.horseandhound.co.uk/new...cross-country-as-safety-work-continues-792947

Piggy added that riders need to take responsibility in producing and educating their horses.

“I think more probably needs to be done in terms of being realistic on what events are ‘proper qualifications’ in terms of standard, and when to move up a level. We don’t need more qualifications, just the right ones that educate horses and riders to prepare them for the next level. We’re obviously losing some events and we need to look at whether it’s down to financial difficulty or a new era of riders just going to places that are easier,” she said.

“Some of the old-fashioned courses maybe don’t get as much support from the riders as they used to, but looking back, many top-level horses got produced and ran various times at a lot of these old-fashioned events.

“I don’t know whether people are getting very protective about records or reputation and so go for easier options. It’s knowing which event we’re preparing for and being realistic about how we qualified and if our horse is ready for this.”


Pippa, who described herself as an “old fart, like Ian”, believes the old long format, with steeplechase and roads and tracks, provided a good education for horse and rider, particularly about riding soft brush and speed, and teaching that there are no quick ways to get horses fit. She believes some riders take short cuts or do not understand the importance of fitness, which is vital for safety.

“People need to learn to ride on different terrains, keeping a horse on its feet and keeping them balanced down hills and through the woods – but they can’t learn that doing arena cross-country schooling or on very flat courses. These courses have a place in the sport, but I think people mustn’t try to think of them as easy routes to get qualified. There mustn’t be an easy route,” she said.

“Some riders are absolutely natural and very good, but as we know, eventing is a risk sport and for the sake of its future, people have got to analyse their rounds.

“There will always be the occasional fall – I’m not saying there aren’t going to be moments where you have to dig deep – but we have to be very aware of the horse’s welfare and wellbeing and the image it creates.”
I've been thinking lately, what if events were given a classification on top, say, with an increased level of difficulty due to terrain or track. In Aus, when you go for your drivers license, you have to have X amount of hours in rain, at night etc. So what if you needed X amount of MERs at courses with a higher difficulty rating? It could be useful too, when selecting courses for moving up level. so a nice flat course which usually builds fairly straightforward might have a difficulty level of 1. Then slightly tougher track a 2, with a tough track and difficult terrain a 3. To move up a level, you have to have proven competency with MERs at those tougher tracks. Might prevent people only picking soft tracks if they want to progress, but also if people are chasing perfect records for sales etc they can choose easier tracks.
Could see more of a change from people wanting an easy season to get qualified to compete at a big event, being encouraged to compete at different venues and over varied tracks.
 

Squeak

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There was a really interesting thread on this last night on Twitter eventing. It was looking at it from a slightly different angle of why do professionals who need the higher levels take truckloads of horses to the unaffs. The answer seemed to be convenience in terms of being able to run at the different levels on the same day coupled which helps save diesel if they were able to take a full lorry of horses instead of just one or two. Also some of the locations were closer and again helped save diesel.
 

RachelFerd

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There was a really interesting thread on this last night on Twitter eventing. It was looking at it from a slightly different angle of why do professionals who need the higher levels take truckloads of horses to the unaffs. The answer seemed to be convenience in terms of being able to run at the different levels on the same day coupled which helps save diesel if they were able to take a full lorry of horses instead of just one or two. Also some of the locations were closer and again helped save diesel.
I followed most of the thread with interest. None of it very surprising given that the majority of professionals taking horses to unaff events have been at the Cotswold Cup events - all of which are easily accessible from Gloucestershire/Wiltshire areas - which are probably the most populated with professional event riders. They can chop and change entries until the last second, don't get forced to run horses under their own names and don't have any real eligibility rules to follow. This is why I find it so funny that people think unaffiliated is something designed for them as amateur riders - if anything, that series is more suited to the needs of professional riders. If you want regulated non-professional/amateur/restricted sections, you *have* to have an overarching authority that sets and administers the application of those rules. Anyhoo...
 

Michen

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Just a musing as it's not something I've ever needed to be bothered about but.. there seems to be a perception that unaff does better prize money than BE. Yet the unaff I've been to other than Aston I'm not sure I've ever seen anything other than a rosette? I came 3rd yesterday and got a pretty small, sad frilly. No issue as not in it for the goods but it's always hard to place so nice to have something to remember it by.

At least with BE it's guaranteed/mandated. I think the Cotswold Cup do prize money throughout the series. If you know you may get a chance of being up in the placings you'd be pretty happy to even get £20/£30 towards diesel at the mo!
 

ester

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There does seem to be an added problem now (following skiptons we don't have enough entries thread having cancelled skipton 1) in that people aren't trusting BE to run as so many have cancelled so where they can are opting to run at unaffiliateds (not necessarily same day but a week before/after) as they know they will definitely run.
 

Michen

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There does seem to be an added problem now (following skiptons we don't have enough entries thread having cancelled skipton 1) in that people aren't trusting BE to run as so many have cancelled so where they can are opting to run at unaffiliateds (not necessarily same day but a week before/after) as they know they will definitely run.

Hmmm yeh. It's a bit of a mess really isn't it. I got some comments on TE because I intend to travel up north to the AFC at Frickley (3.5 hour drive).. where "local" events could use my entry. Well that's fine but actually I am looking forward to the chance to jump around a track with a bit of a punchy championship feel- they are watering the ground to ensure good going so that get's my vote.

I think events also need to be better at how they advertise. I entered BCA over West Wilts in June because on the schedule on BCA it said they would water if needed. Luckily it rained loads anyway. When they were chasing for entries on their page I tagged them and said you should really advertise what you've said about the ground as it will encourage people to enter despite the current weather. They then removed that bit from the BE page!! So clearly had no intention of doing so.

I chose Offchurch Unaff over Tweseldown BE this weekend because, despite having a bowser that they used to use, they no longer do (I know they work VERY hard aerovating but it still gets hard in the dressage, SJ and the non sandy XC bits).
 

Michen

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I saw someone comment to say there wasn't anything that tweseldown could do but I wasn't sure why.
I don't really understand it either because they used to water the dressage and sj advertise the bowser. I thought they were limited to what they could do on the XC because of the habitat/protection.

But the dressage and sj go like concrete.
 

Roxylola

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I'm stuck with only Saturdays free at the moment, I'd like to run at Skipton- it's actually my "home" venue - I grew up there. But they're only running 80 on Sunday. It's a hilly course if I recall to be running a first 90 especially when he's not schooling there yet reliably
 

Tiddlypom

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Kelsall unaff eventing are now running both days after all at the end of July.

£70 entry fee and decent prize money.

1st = £40 | 2nd = £30 | 3rd = £20 | 4th = £15 | 5th = £10 | 6th – 10th = £5 | Prize money is paid for 1 in 5 starters.

There's a big shout out for all the volunteers that they'll need.
 

LEC

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I won today at unaff and prizes were not great. I do prefer the cash at BE. This horse has finally turned a corner but been very unreliable xc so hence why it’s been run at unaff. Also I have crap health right now so unaff means I can change the jockey at short notice and it doesn’t matter as have a back up rider. I can’t look at doing BE with this horse because of said crap health and needing to enter in advance. At moment I look for late entries.
 

Michen

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It's very sad :( But not unexpected with current weather. I was going to enter Calmsden but decided against due to weather and I know the ground gets firm there.

I really think we should go back to spring and autumn eventing!
 

teapot

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Seen two comments elsewhere which I thought I’d put on here:

1) praise of the be all end all centres that can provide everything - unfair perhaps to start asking/expect the parkland events to offer the same facilities wise (you’re never going to get a surface at posh house event .com Do people not realise that expecting the perfect event will change the sport for good?

2) The use of lottery funding goes to individuals primarily, not the sport as a whole, ie no national centre/training facilities. Discuss.
 

teapot

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Saw an event repost to say ballot date in seven days so I had a quick look at entries, they won’t be balloting at this rate 😕
 
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