British Eventing (BE) is setting up a working group in order to establish how to make the sport more popular to a wider audience.

As part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, all sports must increase their popularity and “maximise engagement of the youth audience”.

The FEI eventing committee proposed ideas at the Sports Forum in April (news, 7 May) and now BE is garnering views from the British community.

“It was great to hear the discussions at the Sports Forum,” said BE chief executive David Holmes. “Given the issues discussed regarding the 2020 Agenda we are going to use this as a positive thing, to engage with the eventing community and set up a BE working group.

Riders, sponsors and owners will be involved — they may have strong views.”

Mr Holmes will present the plans in a session run as a workshop with groups breaking away to brainstorm suggestions and then coming back to present ideas.

The 12 working group members will then consult the stakeholders they represent and return with their proposals.

BE will then feed the ideas back to the FEI.

“We will set up a united sounding board, where all stakeholders can represent their area,” he added.

“Consultation is important. It takes time, but if you don’t consult you can end up with the wrong result, or one people aren’t happy with that they might have been if you’d talked to them about it.”

Although BE will “see what comes out of the process”, Mr Holmes believes technology is one area that needs to be addressed.

“We need to have scores much more quickly, and connectivity is a big issue — if people could get scores on their phones immediately it would be a big step forward,” he added.

“There’s also the whole issue of how you present the cross-country. There are jokes about drones, but they use them in other sports. It’s not expensive and it wouldn’t affect the horse or rider as they are far enough away.

“We need to make it more understandable for more non equestrians and this is a way of getting good feedback.”

For an interview with David Holmes don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H (4 June) out now

Ref: H&H 4 June, 2015