A breakaway group of endurance riders disgruntled with the management of the sport’s governing body, Endurance GB, has set up an alternative society.
The founders of Sport Endurance say they are acting in response to EGB members’ dissatisfaction at what it offers ordinary riders.
After registering a deficit of £80,000 in 2004, EGB raised ride charges by up to 100%. Some members believe the society has been concentrating too much on the upper tiers of the sport.
Founder member Jim Lane, a former EGB regional chairman, said: “The deciding moment was at a recent EGB meeting, during a talk about what the groups could do for the EGB committee. I said that was the wrong way round — it should be about what the EGB committee can do for the groups.”
Sport Endurance, which will hold its first rides this July, aims to have a compact structure and French-based rules. Many of those involved — founders include Barbara Elwell, Fran Kallaway, Martin Moore and France-based John Barnes — have been board members of EGB and its two predecessor societies.
“EGB has been aiming at the top 2%. The ‘little people’ are ignored, but they put money into EGB’s coffers,” said Fran Kallaway, who is drawing up Sport Endurance’s rules.
Maggie Maguire, vice-chairman of EGB, said: “We’re aware that people are unhappy, particularly about the rise in fees, which was our fault for sticking to the promise to freeze fees for three years. But we have made a terrific effort and people could have given us more time: it’s upsetting that at the first hurdle they have set up something else.”
Andrew Finding, chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation, said: “We undertook a great deal of work to bring the organisations together to create EGB, so it’s a shame now if there are problems that have caused a separate organisation to be established.”
Last week, EGB co-opted a new finance director, John Yeoman, a polo-playing company director whose wife, Christine, has represented Britain in endurance.