Shows and equestrian centres witnessing reduced entries for shows and clinics fear rising fuel costs are prompting riders to scale back.

Show entries had already been depressed by the bad winter, leaving many horses far from their usual fitness levels. But centres say entries remain lower than usual and that fuel prices are increasingly cited as a contributing factor.

“People are definitely thinking more about costs and entries,” said Lyndsey Rodwell from West Wilts Equestrian, which hosts affiliated and unaffiliated dressage and showjumping.

“Local entries have stayed loyal and consistent but we’re not seeing the numbers from further afield that we’d usually see, they’ve definitely dropped off a bit.”

Ian Bareham from Golden Cross Equestrian Centre in East Sussex agreed: “Entries are much lower. There’s been a steady decrease in the past two years due to rising costs.

“We compete as well and have decided only to go out if we have four horses on a lorry.”

Riders around the country have confirmed to H&H that rising costs are forcing them to reassess their plans this season.

Suffolk-based Adrian Beaumont, who shows Welsh section Bs, said he is now planning “much more carefully” which shows he will travel to for qualifiers.

“We won’t change how far we go, but how often we go out, and will be starting our showing season later this year. Normally, we’d be out now going to indoor shows for fun, but we’ve decided to wait for the summer season,” he said.

Find out what initatives show centres and organisations are putting in place to help tempt competitors back, plus thoughts from other riders on how they are cutting their competition costs, in 10 February issue of Horse & Hound