British Eventing (BE) sport director Mike Etherington-Smith announced the following changes at the annual general meeting at Stoneleigh last Wednesday, 29 October:
- A 10% rise in entry fees next year. BE chairman Ally Fox explained to H&H that this is to cover the premium on a new insurance policy, which replaces BE’s abandonment fund. This means competitors will still get refunds when events cancel — which members voted in favour of — but there is no risk of BE having to pay out huge sums, as has happened in the last two years. The abandonment fund paid out £788,000 in 2007 and nearly £700,000 in 2008.
- Lower level classes have been re-named: pre-novice is now BE 100, intro is BE 90, and training BE 80 (T), with the (T) denoting an event where an accredited trainer will be present. There will be 15 BE 80 (T) events in 2009.
- All events must offer online entry from 2010 onwards.
- There will be a 6% increase in competition days in 2009.
- The BE website is having a “major overhaul”, with the new one running by next season.
- Prize-money is obligatory in pony trials and junior regional novice classes next year.
- There will be a new supporters’ membership category, possibly called the gold medal club, priced at £25.
BE board chairman Ally Fox also told H&H last Friday that there will be a £5 discount on rider memberships and horse registrations if they are done online rather than by post.