Britain may yet host a CCI5* event this year, as all involved in the sport try to find an alternative venue.
Following last week’s news that the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials would not run, and as Badminton Horse Trials had already been cancelled, British Eventing (BE) has announced that “all other options” are being considered in the attempt to run a British five-star this year.
Eventing Riders Association president Bruce Haskell told H&H said there is ongoing collaboration and engagement between all key stakeholders in the sport.
“It was pretty obvious, pretty soon after the cancellation, that there was a will for a CCI5* in Britain in 2021,” he said. “There are complications with the Olympics and the Europeans reducing the number of horses but there’s still a strong appetite for it.”
Bruce said that the five-star horses are hugely specialised, and have a limited time at that top level.
“Europe needs another five-star,” he said. “It might be the best thing for the sport but of course we have to be careful, that one, it’s up to standard, and two, it’s safe. It’ll take working closely with the FEI, which I know BE is doing, to make sure they’re 100% happy but the FEI is very aware of the time these horses have, and the future of the sport, so another CCI5* is a great concept.”
Bruce added that taking on a top-level event will mean a major financial outlay for an organiser.
“We may need the community to get behind a new venue,” he said. “People might be asked to put their hands in their pockets; the message is: ‘sit tight, and if it comes off, we might be asking for help’.
“Criticism often gets directed at BE but they’re not the ones who cancelled anything; this is a sport-wide issue. What’s concerning for me is that the world-level sport is out of the hands of the people who want to see it being delivered.
“Do we want a five-star, or do we want the nice big house in the background? If we want both, we need to work with organisers to make sure that happens; not just for 2022, but with stability behind that. The most important thing is that the sport at world level has a future, and we’d love [those events] to be part of that.
“There’s a lot still to answer but there’s strong will and appetite for a five-star replacement.”
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A BE statement said: “Following the very disappointing news that Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials will not be running this year, BE are working closely with the FEI and other stakeholders to consider all other options for hosting a CCI5* class in the UK as a one-off event this year.
“We are exploring all available possibilities and are committed to doing all that we can to see the highest level of the sport being hosted in Great Britain this year.
“We will keep you updated with progress.”
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