The swelling tide of dissatisfaction with prize-money among eventers has prompted the creation of a Twitter account highlighting riders’ grievances.
@EPrizemoney attracted nearly 500 followers in 36hr.
Sir Mark Todd tweeted, referencing the account: “Off eventing. Just calculated that even if I win on all three horses, skip lunch and pre-diesel, my loss will be £98.31 — crazy!”
Paul Tapner wrote: “Eleven years ago Lucinda Fredericks won £9,000 [for coming first at] Blenheim. Aoife Clark won £8,000. Why’s prize-money going backwards?”
But as three-star rider Tom Rowland pointed out to H&H: “It’s not just about making a stand, it’s about finding a solution. The money has to come from somewhere. Many events barely break even — or run at a loss — so unless the sport can get a huge boost in income [from sponsorship], there remains no obvious answer.”
Paul Tapner added: “I don’t want a rift to be created between the various factions in the sport, but British Eventing [BE] needs to be more proactive. Nowhere in its business plan does it say that it is trying to increase the financial viability of the sport and that worries me.”
However, BE chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith revealed that, over the past 12 months BE has been undertaking a large-scale project that addresses monetary and operational issues, including prize-money.
“There have been some interesting recommendations,” he told H&H. “We expect the outcome to be introduced in 2015.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (26 September 2013).