Team chasing is to have a new accumulator series aimed at increasing regular participation at intermediate and open level.

The Goring Hotel Order of Merit ran in 2007-08 as one series for both open and intermediate sections. But now it will have a separate series for both, in which teams will accrue points for first to fifth placings in their sections at affiliated team chase events.

Prizes will include £400 to the winning team in each section.

Joe Cowen, outgoing Masters of Foxhounds Association team chase committee chairman, explained the changes at the sport’s national annual meeting on 5 May. He said the 2009-10 series will include results from autumn 2009, due to the length of time it has taken to organise the new accumulator.

Results from the Essex and Suffolk 2009 onwards — until the Cotswold event on 31 October 2010 — will count for this year’s awards and prizes will be presented at the Cotswold.

New chairman James Buckle MFH was formally appointed at the meeting. Organiser of the Essex and Suffolk event, James has participated at open level.

He said: “My goal is to take team chasing into the mainstream. It is a fantastic sport for all types of horse. But sometimes it can be difficult to organise one person to get to an equestrian event, let alone a team of four!”

James hopes the new Order of Merit will encourage teams to follow the circuit of events, which run in the autumn and spring.

“It should foster a competitive spirit so intermediates gain the confidence to move up to open level,” he said.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (20 May, ’10)