New British Eventing chair of directors appointed

The new chairman of British Eventing’s (BE) board of directors — Paul Hodgson (pictured) — has told H&H he is “passionate about shaping a strategy for the sport”.

The Richmond Equestrian Centre joint-organiser and owner will replace Hugh Thomas, who stepped in to fill the role in May 2014, after past chair Amanda Ratcliffe stood down during the final year of her term due to external commitments.

As well as his involvement with Richmond Equestrian Centre, Mr Hodgson has also been vice chair of the BE Organisers Association in recent months.

BE announced in December that its chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith would be standing down. Mr Hodgson told H&H that his first priority would to find a suitable replacement.

“At the moment we have a vacuum,” Mr Hodgson said. “We need to get a united board focused on selecting a new chief executive as soon as possible.”

“I have to thank Hugh Thomas and Mike Etherington-Smith for their considerable contributions to the sport.”

Mr Hodgson will take over the role on the 1 March when the recruitment process for the new position will start. BE hope that Mr Etherington-Smith’s replacement will be able to be confirmed in May or April.

Shaping the sport

The limited amount of prize-money for eventers has been a bone of contention among leading event riders over the past two seasons — with many arguing that BE needs to be more proactive.

“The topic of prize-money keeps on being raised by certain riders,” Mr Hodgson said.

“My priority is not purely prize-money. My belief is that we should collectively create the right conditions for growing and expanding the sport.

“We will always have long list of priorities and what we as the board need to make sure we focus on the right ones.

“At the moment we need to focus on getting the right chief executive into the position.”

As well as his passion for eventing Mr Hodgson has also been involved in hunting and has been MFH and field master of the Bedale for the past six seasons, 2008 – 2014.