British event rider and former H&H columnist William Fox-Pitt is opposed to the dramatic rise in international one-day competitions (CICs) in eventing in Britain, as he told H&H in our exclusive interview in 3 March issue.
“Why do we have to do CICs in this country rather than one-days? What is the real difference? Absolutely nothing,” says William. “Apart from the fact your entry costs you a lot more, you have to be there for more days and you have to do lots of trot-ups. That isn’t about producing horses correctly, nor safety.
“I’d like to see CICs binned; their only purpose is to create a level standard across the different eventing countries, which the FEI is never going to achieve. The FEI could perfectly well make a rule that, if you compete in Britain, your advanced result will count, but that in Brazil, for example, it has to be a three-star CIC. I don’t see why a nation can’t be graded as to what it provides.
“The cost of CICs is prohibitive and the hassle for events is restrictive. Now you go to events and CICs and advanced are identical — because, of course, organisers can’t afford to build separate tracks.
“Sadly, I suspect the FEI thinks the opposite and will get rid of CCIs [three-day events] instead, which would be a tragedy. To me, the CCI is the pinnacle of each level of the sport. I think we lost an element of horsemanship when we lost the long-format and the further we go towards a glorified one-day sport, although the skill has increased, the more the danger is that horsemanship is diminished.
“And, of course, owners bear the brunt. They are having to dig incredibly deep as the cost of competition and livery goes up without any commensurate rise in prize-money and their loyalty to the sport is being stretched to the limit.”
Find out what else William got off his chest when talking exclusively to H&H in our interview in the current issue of Horse & Hound (3 March, 2011)