The British Show Jumping Association’s (BSJA) annual fees will increase by up to 30% from 1 April following the news that the UK Sport funding has been redirected to other schemes at the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

In 2001, the government gave funds to show jumping through UK Sport to help with the sport’s coaching and international effort. However, when the Lottery-funded World Class Start and Potential schemes began, it was decided to use the UK Sport money for other purposes.

“The Lottery provides £450,000, which goes directly to the disciplines, and it also supported pony, junior and young rider teams last year,” says BEF chief executive Andrew Finding.

“We were asked by UK Sport to provide a strategic plan across every equestrian discipline and it was decided that the grant would be redirected to our breeding strategy and a new position of BEF consultant director of coaching.”

Mr Finding points out that an overall strategy is vital if equestrianism is to benefitfrom a government initiative.

“The government has £28m put aside to improve coaching in every sport, but we have to be seen to be looking at equestrian sports overall, not as separate disciplines,” he adds.

Although the BSJA was told of the redirection of funds last year, it originally thought that the shortfall could be made up by its proposed development plan, through which it would apply a levy on every entry fee. It was also hoping to freeze its fees at the 2002 levels.

However, when the plan was put to the BSJA membership in a series of roadshows, the levy idea was rejected and the association’s board has been asked to come up with a new business plan.

BSJA marketing manager Jacky Knightley says: “We have a rolling membership system, whereby fees can be paid for a 12-month period at any time of the year. By the time we realised the development fund would not happen and that we also had to find the money to fund our head of coaching, Di Lampard, and her assistant, Nicky Fuller, many people had already rejoined at the 2002 rates. These increases look huge, but they won’t make us money – we’ll be lucky to break even.”

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