Three British organisations are vying to host the European dressage and show jumping championships in 2009. H Power Group, Unex Towerlands and Hartpury College all made tender presentations to the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) on 15 June and have accepted invitations to submit business plans, with the most suitable venue being selected at the end of July. The chosen venue will be included in the BEF’s bid to host a joint European dressage and show jumping championships.
“It has been extremely encouraging to see the number of equestrian event organisers with the skill and ambition required to run European Championships in this country,” said BEF Chairman Hugh. “We need to maintain Great Britain’s impressive international reputation by planning ahead, identifying future opportunities such as this where we can showcase our event organisation skills.”
Hartpury College, Gloucestershire is delighted to have made it through to the next stage of the tendering process. “Hartpury College has a long and proven track record of delivering successful World and European Championships and on-going investment is being made to ensure the very best equestrian facilities are provided,” explained Malcolm Wharton, Principal of Hartpury. “Current investment includes the building of a £3.5 million indoor equine arena development to be completed in time for the World Paradressage Championships next summer.”
Unex Towerlands has also been investing large sums of money in its facilities, “We have spent £2.5 million over the last two years,” said Steven Wilde of Towerlands. “What we have is a permanent site, used by all levels of the sport, 364 days a year. Whatever we put together for the Europeans will be a legacy that lives on for grassroots and professional riders.”
H Power Group is putting the Royal Windsor show ground forward as a potential venue. “It is a unique setting in a unique location and is, without a shadow of doubt one of the prettiest sites in the world,” said Simon Brookes-Ward of H Power Group. The venue, which already includes a £500,000 all-weather surface would be expanded to provide more arenas. “Hosting the Europeans at Windsor would promote the country as well as the sport,” said Brookes-Ward, adding that competitions could also take place in the evenings due to floodlights.
The BEF is planning to submit its bid to the FEI on behalf of British Dressage and the British Show Jumping Association by the deadline of 1 September, and the FEI will decide which country will host the 2009 Championships later this year.
“I am sure that a joint Dressage and Show Jumping European Championship at any of these three venues would be absolutely fantastic, and I am hoping that the FEI agrees with our final choice,” said Mr Thomas.