The Event Riders Association (ERA) has agreed to sponsor Tweseldown’s controversial unaffiliated CIC* section and response to the competition has been “very promising”, according to organiser Brynley Powell.

“The fact that the ERA is sponsoring it says it all,” he said.

Mr Powell said he was left with “little choice” but to host an unaffiliated competition after British Eventing (BE) turned down his application to run an affiliated CIC*.

“I decided to run a one-star because riders constantly complain that during a five-day competition they have nothing to do,” he explained last month. “So I got a budget together but was informed by BE’s fixtures committee that the event upset too many other organisers — I didn’t even receive a written explanation.”

ERA chairman Clayton Fredericks (pictured) said: “We’ve been looking to do this type of event for a long time. Because it’s unaffiliated, it gives us the opportunity to do a few interesting things.”

These “interesting things” include top riders such as Bettina Hoy and Pippa Funnell judging the dressage phase, as well as giving critical advice to riders after the show jumping and cross-country phases.

As well as a brand new course at Tweseldown, competitors will benefit froma prize-fund of £3,000.

But Clayton Fredericks points out the ERA is not turning its back on affiliated eventing.

“We would hate BE to think we’re doing it for any political reason,” he said. “The ERA is for all levels, both affiliated and unaffiliated.”

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