Events which refuse to refund entry fees, even on production of a vet’s certificate, are causing controversy among competitors

The horse world’s policy towards refunding entries is being queried by some riders who, on having to withdraw, find their places filled by other riders but their cheques are still being cashed.

Event horse owner Annabel Brunner was recently forced to pull her horse out of three events on vet’s orders. She wrote to the organisers of each event asking for her entry fee to be reimbursed, but without success.

She said: “It is disappointing when the horse is unable to compete for some time, but it is even more of a blow when yourealise what the lost entry fees add up to.”

Entering three affiliated events has cost Annabel almost £200.

She said: “I have no problem with not getting the entry fee back if the organisers are unable to fill my place. But ifthe event has managed to fill my place from the waiting-list, then it is getting two entry fees for one place. In this situation, maybe the entry fee could be returned with a deduction for administration costs.”

British Eventing (BE)’s policy is that refunds for withdrawals after the ballot date are at the organiser’s discretion.

For show jumpers, the story is a different one. The British Show Jumping Association states that: “Affiliated shows are required to refund50% of the entry fees in respect of all entry cancellations which are received by the show secretary no later than 48 hours before noon of the day on which the first competition of the show is scheduled to start.”

British Dressage will not give a refund after the close of entries, although 50% of entry fees will be returned to those whose withdrawal is received before the close of entries.

And for those who show their horses, the rule is that an entry fee is not returnable, except on production of a veterinary certificate.

Entry fees for show jumping are around £10 for a novice class, for dressage from £10 to £30, and county shows between £15 and £36, while competitors have to pay upwards of £43 to take part in an affiliated novice event.

However, running costs for eventing are often considerably higher and the other disciplines also tend to have more opportunities to generate revenue from tradestand fees, sponsorship and spectators’ tickets.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (27 June), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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