Plans are afoot to submit a British bid to host a joint European Dressage and Show Jumping Championships in 2009.

British Equestrian Federation (BEF) performance manager Will Connell told H&H that the BEF was working with the FEI, UK Sport, British Dressage (BD) and the BSJA to secure the event.

A tender process for venues/organising committees will start in May, with the BEF needing to submit its bid to the FEI by 1 September.

The plan comes hot on the heels of last year’s successful European Eventing Championships at Blenheim which, like the 2003 European Dressage Championships at Hickstead, attracted huge crowds and support from the British public.

BD chief executive David Holmes predicted the event would generate more than £500,000 in turnover, stressing the most positive knock-on effect would be seen in improved British performances prior to London’s 2012 Olympics.

“The evidence is that hosting the Europeans or event of that scale has a positive effect on performance,” he said.

BSJA chief executive Jacky Wood said there was no shortage of top-class venues capable of hosting such an event. But Hickstead show director Lizzie Bunn suggested the two disciplines should run over two weekends to avoid traffic chaos.

“I think any venue in England would struggle,” she said. “But if they [show jumping and dressage] could be held on consecutive weeks, we’d be interested in putting in a tender.”

Pippa Cuckson, spokesman for Great Leighs Racecourse, which plans to open a world-class equestrian park by 2009, said: “We will bid for it [joint Europeans] because it fits in with the plans we have for a full-blown equestrian park.”

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