Showjumpers in the International Stairway series will have more chances to get to Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) via a wild card this year after changes to the programme.

Three wild cards, as opposed to one, will now be on offer during the outdoor competition series.

This year for the first time the International Stairway will have a league final, held at Stoneleigh, which will produce the British Showjumping national champion.

Prize money will be boosted to £15,000 at the final.

As there was no official final last year the last leg had a pot of £7,500, the same as all the other legs. That amount remains the standard prize for this year.

“Now there is a final, it makes it more prestigious and the prize-money reflects that,” said a spokesman for British Showjumping (BS).

There will be seven qualifying legs to the league in 2015 ahead of the final, with an additional one in September counting towards the 2016 league.

One wild card goes to the International Stairway league winner, the second goes to the winner of the final and the third to the winner of the BS National Championship show league, which runs across three days of the show, culminating with the International Stairway league final.

Phillip Miller, who has won the series twice, welcomed the changes.

“It’s good to try to keep people in the country, this should encourage more riders to support county shows,” he told H&H.

“With a proper final and three wild cards there is more for people to aim for.”

♦ The BS National Championships are now run by Grandstand Event Management, as the company won a five-year tender to run the event last year. The finals will be hosted at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, which is managed by the organiser’s sister company, Grandstand — Stoneleigh Events.

The BS National Championships were previously at the Scope Festival of Showjumping at the Staffordshire Showground.

International Stairway dates

  • Devon County Show (21-23 May)
  • Suffolk Show (27-28 May)
  • South of England Show (11-13 June)
  • Royal Highland Show (18-21 June)
  • Royal Norfolk Show (1-2 July)
  • Great Yorkshire Show (14-16 July)
  • New Forest Show (28-30 July)
  • National Championships ­ Stairway Final (11-16th August)
  • Royal Berkshire Show (19-20 Sept) (2016 Championships qualifier)

Ref: Horse & Hound; 22 January 2015