The inaugural amateur eventing championships will be held in Yorkshire next August. Organised by UK Amateur Eventing (UKAE), the competition intends to give amateur riders the chance to demonstrate their prowess at a national unaffiliated championship event.
Qualifying competitions are to take place throughout the country from 1 September this year, and those who finish either in the top five or 10 placings, depending on the venue, will be eligible for the final.
Those who qualify will be asked to register with UKAE for a one off payment of £15. The eventing final will be held over four days (24-27 August) and the cross-country final over three (31 August-2 September).
There will be four levels of competition, Junior 1, Junior 2, Senior 1 and Senior 2, for over and under-18s, and the fences will range from 65cms to 105cms.
The venue, near Harrogate, will have several dressage and show jumping arenas, two purpose built cross-country courses — able to run simultaneously — stabling, acres of land for parking, a shopping area and evening entertainment.
A spokesman from UKAE told HHO: “The idea actually came from the Horse & Hound letters page… everybody was complaining about how expensive eventing is. In dressage and show jumping they have alternatives to competing professionally, but there is no proper structure in place for people who want to event.”
He added that they are carefully working out how best to arrange the qualifiers: “Centres are signing up for the qualifiers, and since they will be this autumn and next spring we want them to be evenly distributed throughout the UK, and not to clash. Once we know more the information will go on our website.”
It was decided that the event should be held somewhere quite central so people from all over the country could get there, and the Harrogate location also reflects the fact that the majority of events which already exist are in the south east. “If you are down south the chances are you have lots of competitions to pick from, and you won’t have to come all the way up if you want to compete that weekend,” he explained.
The final looks like being a large event: “We are planning for 800 to 900 horses. We’ve done the timings and we know that’s how many we can realistically handle.”
In an effort to encourage spectators, organisers plan to charge £10 entry per car rather than charging a fee per head.
“We want it to be affordable, and achievable, for riders and spectators alike. It’s atmosphere we’re looking for, not big profits,” he added.
For further details about the competition, and to find out when the qualifiers are announced, visit the UKAE website at http://www.amateureventing.co.uk