Organisers of two of the world’s top eventing fixtures are working towards sorting out a calendar clash that could prove disastrous for both.

Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials announced last month that due to a tie-in with the BBC its dates would be fixed to the early May bank holiday until 2012 (news, 23 April).

But in 2011 this puts Badminton, scheduled for 29 April-2 May, in competition with the Rolex Kentucky three-day event (28 April-1 May).

Janie Atkinson from Kentucky Horse Trials said: “The FEI [International Equestrian Federation] can’t let Badminton go ahead. It would mean two four-stars on the same day and could be a real blow to competitors.

“The USEF [United States Equestrian Federation] and FEI are in talks with Badminton. We can’t change our date as we would clash with the Kentucky Derby or another event.”

Kentucky is already likely to suffer in 2010 due to the World Equestrian Games (WEG) at Kentucky Horse Park (25 September-10 October) and the WEG practice, which takes place at the same time as the three-day event (22-25 April).

Hugh Thomas, director and course-designer at Badminton, said he was in discussions with the FEI and Kentucky and did not want to comment further.

But FEI spokesman Malina Gueorguiev confirmed it was not possible for two four-star events to run on the same day and one would have to change.

A date clash would also put an end to two major eventing prizes, the Rolex Grand Slam — awarded to a rider winning Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley consecutively — and the HSBC FEI Classics series, which includes Badminton and Kentucky.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (7 May, ’09)