Major changes to the way British Eventing (BE) runs its entry system are to be trialled next season.
BE also confirmed to H&H that it is considering raising entry fees to cover rising costs incurred by organisers.
A “first come, first served” entry system will be run in place of balloting at a “handful” of events in 2012.
BE will also be running a “slot system” – whereby riders with several horses will be able to buy multiple places and then choose which horse to run shortly before the event.
Chris Hunnable, who chairs BE’s sports committee, said: “The first come, first served approach will help riders keep the destiny of entries more in their own hands.
“And the slot system will allow riders with more than one horse flexibility,” he added.
“You may think when you enter that horse X will need the run, however, when the event comes around, horse Y may be needing it. With this system you can swap them.”
H&H columnist Captain Mark Phillips has raised the issue of “slots” in the past (eventing, 22 April 2010).
“When Piggy French withdraws seven horses from Belton because she cannot make the changes [substitutions] she wants, there is something wrong,” he said.
World Class Potential squad member Gemma Tattersall said: “The slot system would be brilliant. Horses always get injured and it is hard to know six or seven weeks in advance what stage a horse will be at.”
But some members of the H&H forums believe other issues, such as closed waitlists and refunds, should be tackled first - and the changes will not benefit grass-roots riders.
Hels_Bells said: “Due to financial constraints I often do not enter until three to four weeks before when I have transport sorted, not good for “first come, first served’.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (22 September, 2011)