The announcement that Britain will now get to compete in the Nations Cup final in Barcelona (22-25 September) has created an interesting scenario.
After the winners of the Asia-Australia and Middle East regions confirmed they would not be heading to Spain, both Britain and Belgium — who were relegated from division one after Hickstead — now have wildcards (news, 8 September). But what the FEI has been unable to confirm is if Britain stands a chance of competing in the top tier next year if they win.
Usually the winners of the Nations Cup final automatically qualify for division one. But as we’ve been declared officially out, will that be the case or should we be allowed to bounce back without missing a year?
When the FEI were challenged this week, they were still unable to say yes or no. At the moment it sounds as if a decision on the rules might not be made until the final itself, depending on the outcome. The rules should be made clear for everyone involved way ahead of the start of the competition to give team managers the opportunity to line up the right combinations — especially when a chance to get back in the league is at stake.
As it is, Di Lampard is certainly fielding a good team for Barcelona and if it goes our way, it might be a golden opportunity to put things right. It will be good to see Scott Brash with Ursula and Nick Skelton with Big Star. Fair play to Nick for taking him — it’s a massive bonus and his score can always make the difference between winning and losing.
I’m glad Tim Stockdale will also be there with Fleur De L’Aube. They were the best thing to come out of Hickstead, putting in our top performance in the Nations Cup. While some might question whether it’s in the riders’ interests to have their top horses there if we don’t stand a chance of getting back in the super league, Barcelona has a big grand prix with good prize money, so people will usually be happy to jump.
At this time of year there are a lot of auctions taking place. At Fontainebleau in France, foal prices have been between E12,000 (£10,100) and E15,000, with a top price going up to E35,000: a big risk for a long-term investment. Prices for three-year-olds have been averaging E17,000 to E27,000, which is good news for breeders.
What is interesting is how many auctions now take place online. It’s certainly the way forward for breeders to show off their stock to far-away investors. It’s now possible to do a complete viewing online with pre-purchase exams already being in place from recognised and approved vets.
As we go into the autumn, sales always increase from American buyers looking to stock up ahead of their tours in Wellington and Ocala. They start buying now so that they have time to get the horse home, quarantined and to have November and December to get to know them.
While thinking about how we could promote these sales in the UK, I heard this week that a company aptly called Pegasus Finance has just started offering the chance to put a horse on finance. Previously, it’s not been possible as the risk has been considered too high.
Hopefully it will be useful for recognised dealers to be able to advertise this service. If it gives them more scope to sell horses on a more regular basis to a wider customer base, it can only be a good thing.
Ref Horse & Hound; 15 September 2016