A new series aimed at encouraging amateur riders to try eventing has been causing a stir due to its huge prize fund.
A £15,000 prize pot is on offer for the unaffiliated “A.T. Classics” series — £10,000 cash and £5,000 other prizes — held at Aston-le-Walls and Tweseldown during 2017.
Although the full prize fund is being raised through entry fees, there will also be sponsorship opportunities.
The idea came from Aston-le-Walls’ Nigel Taylor, who said he has been “thinking about it for a while” and that Rachael Faulkner, of Tweseldown, was the right person to run the series with.
“She is a passionate person about running horse trials and running them well,” said Mr Taylor.
“Rachael has done a lot of work at Tweseldown.
“It is a site like ours that can run pretty well in all weathers.”
The pair will host nine unaffiliated events — four at Tweseldown and five at Aston-le-Walls — at 80cm, 90cm and 1m-level, between April and November.
Riders can win points at each event and at the final competition the prizes will be awarded.
The series is open to all, but there will be restrictions on who is eligible to win prizes.
“I think there is a huge number of people out there that by doing a series like this is going to encourage them and introduce them to eventing,” said Ms Faulkner.
“We want to give the lower levels something like the Event Rider Masters series to get excited about.”
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She added the reaction the A.T. Classics series has had so far is also important in showing businesses the benefits of supporting events.
“By doing this, being brave, putting up the money ourselves, we can show companies they can get great exposure [by supporting events],” she said.
“It is showing companies there is a need out there and a fantastic customer base for them out there.
“I am thrilled with the response and really excited about it for next year.”