Events work together to share international competitions

  • Little Downham has given one of its future international classes to Bicton in a move to ease the “congestion” of events in the British and European calendar.

    British Eventing’s (BE) handling of the strategic international fixtures review for the 2020 to 2025 calendar was met with a mixed response as well as some confusion earlier this year (news, 11 April).

    The aim was to “achieve a balanced fixtures calendar that provides the best opportunities and value to the membership while optimising event viability for organisers”.

    But questions were raised over how scores were reached at certain events, why others were not allocated fixtures and why there was a bottleneck with clashing fixtures in the autumn. The review also marked the welcome announcement of some new events.

    BE has now said that a review of the strategic fixtures process is in its “final stages” and that it hopes to share its findings “shortly”.

    The results of the strategic fixtures process were released in the spring and as part of this, Little Downham, Cambridgeshire, was awarded a CCI3*-S and a CCI4*-S to run from 3 to 5 October 2020. This is a direct clash with the provisional dates for Boekelo CCIO4*-L (1 to 4 October 2020) and comes days ahead of Osberton, Notts, (8 to 11 October) holding CCI2*-L&S and CCI3*-L&S. Bicton in Devon retained its October CCI2*S&L, but lost its spring international classes (CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S) and — until now — its autumn CCI3*-S.

    Litte Downham organiser Tina Ure and Bicton International organiser Helen West initiated discussions with BE this year.

    “As a result of a huge amount of goodwill and compromise on the part of both Tina and Helen it has been agreed the CCI3*-S class will move from Little Downham and return to Bicton in October 2020,” said a statement from BE.

    “The CCI4*-S class will remain at Little Downham. This will enable the fixtures team to assess the demand for a CCI4*-S at this time of year, while maintaining the popular CCI3*-S at Bicton International. While the demand for the new CCI4*-S is evaluated, the BE board has agreed that this class will be held on its own within Little Downham International, also enabling BE to gauge the overall viability of running a standalone CCI-S class.

    “We would like to thank both organisers for working with us to resolve the challenge.”

    Chris Farr, BE’s sport operations manager, said he is “incredibly grateful” to Tina and Helen for their understanding and patience.

    “BE needs to ensure that we have the right balance of international fixtures throughout the year, and the concerns raised with this specific challenge required the goodwill and patience of both organisers,” he said.

    He added the fixtures team will monitor the demand for the CCI4*-S.

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    Tina added the team at Little Downham was “deeply honoured” to be awarded the October international classes.

    “However, when considering the available dates it was not feasible to run these classes to provide the best opportunity for the membership,” she said.

    “As such we looked to work with BE and fellow organiser Helen to find a solution support those riders looking for a late CCI4*-S and CCI3*-S. We very much look forward to welcoming the four-star competitors to Little Downham International in October 2020.”

    Helen added: “I am delighted to have been able to work with BE and fellow organiser Tina.

    “The permanent facilities at Bicton Arena make it an ideal venue to run at this stage of the season, as we proved last year when we hosted this fixture.

    “I look forward to being able to re-establish the CCI3*-S class at this fixture and very much hope that Little Downham get the support that they deserve for the late season CCI4*-S.”

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