Express Eventing will not hold its final at this year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) following a change to the format that will see the series run from 2012 to 2013.
HOYS hosted the 2011 Express Eventing final, but this season’s first qualifier will not take place until November.
The series – now in its fourth incarnation – will run as a team event for the first time and continue into late 2013.
Jill Gratton-Fisher, director of Express Eventing, told H&H that the decision was due to the London Olympics.
“Many of the athletes and officials will be involved with the Games,” she said. “We felt it was better to put the series back.
“HOYS was a great venue for us and we are looking at our options for the 2013 final.”
This season’s Express Eventing will start at the inaugural Horse World Live event, to be staged at the ExCel centre in London Docklands.
Subject to final agreement, venues will include the Dublin Show, as well as last year’s settings of the CLA Game Fair and Lincolnshire county show.
Ms Gratton-Fisher said the competition would have a new “Formula 1-style” format.
Teams will be made up of two riders who will compete for both the individual championship and the team prize, accumulating points at each event.
Helena Pettit, managing director of HOYS organiser Grandstand Media, said she was “delighted” the series was continuing and hoped the new format would “prove to be a great success”.
Last year’s winner Matthew Wright (pictured) told H&H he liked the new concept.
“It is definitely worth moving Express Eventing forward and if this is their way of doing it, then all well and good,” he said.
But H&H eventing editor Pippa Roome eventing editor felt it was a “huge shame” that Express Eventing had moved away from HOYS.
“The final worked really well there and it seemed to have finally ‘come of age’ , after two rather stuttering earlier attempts,” she said.
Mary King lost her Olympic partner, Call Again Cavalier at the first Express Eventing, in Cardiff in 2008.
It then evolved into a young rider competition at the Royal Festival of the Horse in 2010.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (1 March 2012)