Windsor International Horse Trials will be relaunched in 2004 with a fresh competition format geared to attracting commercial and spectator support to eventing, masterminded by new event director Mike Tucker.

The event, which will not take place in 2003, has had a chequered history in recent years, with criticisms of the cross-country going, poor weather and foot-and-mouth threatening its viability.

Mike hopes that a radical change of format may breathe a new lease of life into one of the spring season’s most high-profile fixtures and attract new fans to the sport of eventing.

The Windsor showpiece will be an international team challenge, a one-day international team event contested by teams representing America, Australasia, Britain and the rest of theworld.

The competition is to be run on a matchplay format, with riders from each team going head-to-head and their final rankings added together to decide the winning squad.

“This is both an incredibly exciting and innovative new competition format in the sport. Not running in 2003 allows us valuable planning time, which we will be using to bring the going up to a condition to rival the best in the world,” explains Mike Tucker.

Jonathan Warr will design a new cross-country course and we will also be developing a new site for the main arena and other attractions in Windsor Great Park, as well as establishing new relationships with a series of high-profile sponsoring partners.”

The inaugural event, which will run on 27-31 May 2004, will include a series of other attractions, including a glittering charity dinner and midday champagne reception, both in aid of charities supported by event president the Princess Royal.

Mike Tucker also hopes that the event will attract interest from those who do not traditionally follow eventing, along with television coverage.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (5 December), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

Read more eventing stories: