British Eventing (BE) is asking members if they want to continue paying a levy to cover the return of entrance fees when events are cancelled or would prefer cheaper entry, but no refund if the event is abandoned.

BE has estimated that the levy, set at £3.50 per entry for the 2008 season for intro, pre-novice and novice competitions, and £4.50 for intermediate and advanced, would have to rise to around £7 next year to cover insurance premiums.

“If an event is abandoned this year, competitors get back their entry fee minus £5 admin costs,” said BE spokesman Lisa Randall. “But last year, when we lost 61.5 days through abandonment, competitors got back 100 per cent.”

Members are invited to take part in the vote on the BE website or by post and email before the end of next week (25 July).

Terry Bailey, business director at British Eventing, said: “Running over 350 days of sport a year, it is inevitable that some events will be lost to bad weather.

“We can insure members against losing their entry fees, but these costs will need to be covered.

“We have in the past taken out some cover, but have had to make up the shortfall out of reserves, which is not the way to run our sport.

“In light of this, we wanted to ask members whether they would prefer to pay the full levy and get a refund, or leave it off and forgo their entry fee in the case of abandonment.

“Whatever decision is made, it will be applied to the whole membership and all entry fees, not individually, so it is important that as many members as possible vote.”

Ms Randall said events are abandoned if the course is unsafe for horses or if emergency vehicles cannot access all areas of the course.

Register your vote at www.britisheventing.com

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (17 July, ’08)