The selection, training, preparation and management of Britain’s endurance squads will come under fire at next month’s Endurance GB annual general meeting in Coventry.
This follows the performance of Britain’s senior squad, which was outclassed at the European Championships last month. The Young Riders — on paper one of the strongest teams in years — also experienced disappointment when their first rider came 25th.
In a hard-hitting comment, the society’s official e-newsletter No Limits says some serious questions need to be asked after virtually everything “went wrong” at Punchestown.
The comment, which carries the disclaimer that “it does not necessarily reflect the views of the management”, adds: “The performance was poor because we weren’t good enough. It didn’t work from the management committee to the selection process, to the riding and crewing. We have to hold our hands up and say we failed. ”
A catalogue of “behind the scenes” problems afflicted the squad. The team was nearly disqualified from the competition on the eve of the ride because a travelling reserve, Meriel Moon’s Gedenski, was not removed from the FEI stabling before deadline.
One intermediate team rider, who does not wish to be named, says that riders are afraid to speak out because of fear of affecting their own chances of selection. She says: “While the other countries have moved forward in leaps and bounds, we seem to have moved backwards by a couple of decades.”
At Punchestown, multi-winning French chef d’equipe Pierre Cazes said he used to fear the British, but not any more.
Following the formation of Endurance GB two years ago, virtually the whole international structure, previously run by the British Endurance Riding Association, was lost.
The annual general meeting will be held in Coventry on 29-30 November.