British Eventing (BE) is considering extending the season into November to make up for the high number of cancelled and abandoned fixtures.
More than 70 days have already been lost from the BE calendar and, although 16 extra days have been added, many riders are struggling to get a run.
BE chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith said: “Extending the season into November is under consideration and we are looking at the practicalities and possibilities.”
The idea has garnered widespread support from riders at all levels, but with some reservations.
Four-star rider Sharon Hunt said: “Extending the season into November is a really good idea, providing the weather is OK.
“I’ve got a lot of young horses at the moment and, although I’m not in a rush with them, they haven’t made as much progress this year as I would like.”
And Irish international Sacha Hourigan said she would like the season extended as a matter of course.
“I would actually like to see a longer season every year, with a better geographical spread of events,” she said.
“I think horses would stay sounder for longer, as it wouldn’t be necessary to run them as often to chase qualifications.”
But BE100 competitor Kirstie MacGillivray, who is based in Scotland, cautioned: “I applaud BE for taking positive action, but our season has to finish in mid-September because there is not enough daylight once October arrives.
“Extending the calendar into November will not help Scottish competitors.”
And novice competitor Sally Witts added: “It will help me as I’m so busy over the summer, but my teenage daughters won’t be able to compete in November because it will be too dark to ride after school.”
However, the regular eventing season is still only halfway through.
BE estimated there are 4,000 entries available around the country for events running in July at all levels, from BE80(T) to CIC***, plus three further months of competition.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (19 July 2012)
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