British Eventing’s (BE) popular amateur championship — the Grassroots Festival — will not be run next year and will be part of Badminton Horse Trials from 2010, the organisation has announced.

The 3-year-old Grassroots Festival brings together winners from intro and pre-novice regional qualifiers from around the country to contest the overall championship. It has previously been held at Aston-le-Walls.

BE says the Grassroots Festival will run alongside the four-star Badminton competition, with most of the dressage will taking place on the Wednesday — the same day as the international trot-up — and show jumping and cross country on Thursday — the first day of the main horse trials.

The winning riders will parade in the main arena on Thursday evening.

Mike Etherington Smith, BE sport director said: “This is great boost for the sport. To give our members the opportunity to compete at Badminton will be a great thrill, and a not-to-be-missed opportunity.”

Hugh Thomas, the director of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials said: “To be able to host the championships for the Grassroots riders alongside our international event will be quite a challenge but we much look forward to making them feel part of our Badminton family.”

And 2008 Baileys Intro Grassroots Festival Champion Caroline Bridge, added: “This is fantastic news for amateur eventers!

“Everyone dreams of riding at Badminton, so what better incentive than to work towards our own Grassroots Championships at such a well-known, world famous venue.

“I can’t wait now to get my youngster ready for the chance to compete at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Grassroots Festival in 2010.”

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