Fixtures on the 2012 Global Challenge Tour (GCT) will clash with key FEI Nations Cup events – including Hickstead – in the run up to the Olympic Games.

Shows clash with the Nations Cups at Rome (24 May 2012), Falsterbo (12 July 2012), Hickstead (19 July 2012) and Dublin (19 August 2012).

European Equestrian Federation president Hanfried Haring said: “Nations Cups are the most precious assets owned by the national federations and the future of equestrian sport in the Olympics depends on them keeping this importance.”

He said for this reason there was a rule that GCT competitions cannot clash with FEI top league Nations Cups.

The FEI general assembly in Rio agreed the 2012 GCT dates can go ahead but the number of results counting towards Rolex Rankings has been cut from 50 to 30.

This means riders do not have to chase results and are more free to jump for their country at nations cups.

Results on borrowed horses, as may be the case at a GCT fixture in China, do not count.

The GCT is an annual series, founded in 2006 by Jan Topps.

It brings together the top 40 riders in the Rolex rankings and since 2007 classes have been run under FEI rules as CSI***** competitions.

The FEI has no part in the organisation of the classes.

Mr Topps was not available for comment.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (24 November 2011)