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Pre-novice three-day events lack support

Riders have questioned the cost of entering British Eventing’s (BE) pre-novice three-day events after Strathallan Horse Trials (27-30 July) last week cancelled the class due to lack of entries.

The Derby House-sponsored pre-novice three-day events were started this year in response to a BE members’ survey.

Great Witchingham ran the first pre-novice three-day last weekend, but with only 20 entries across two three-day sections. The first, planned for Chepstow in May, was cancelled due to wet weather.

Estate agent Lucy Counsell and sales consultant Elaine Curran considered aiming for a pre-novice three-day event, but decided against it. They blamed entry cost (£200-£235, with stabling extra) and the need to take too much holiday from work as deciding factors.

“It doesn’t qualify you for anything, so it’s just a bit of fun, but a very expensive bit of fun,” said Ms Counsell.

Amanda Forsyth is trying to persuade her daughter Abbi, 14, to do an unaffiliated three-day event instead.

Entry for the Milton Keynes unaffiliated three-day event is £95. It starts with the first horse inspection on Friday, meaning one day out of work (or school) compared with a Wednesday start for affiliated pre-novice three-days.

BE chief executive Peter Durrant admitted support for the new class was “disappointing”, adding: “I’m conscious it’s costly, but not convinced that’s the sole factor. The cost is due to the whole infrastructure — stables, catering, loos, marquees, water — of having people on site for six days.

“Milton Keynes is in a unique situation because there’s an infrastructure in place. If we want to mirror a full-blown three-day event, it’s impossible to do it for less.”

  • This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (20 July, ’06)
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