Royal Windsor Horse Show will not be running international singles and pairs driving trials this year, in a move to control competitor numbers.
The international horse and pony fours classes will run as normal at the show (10-13 May), with the horse section retaining its World Cup qualifier status.
“It has a lot to do with the infrastructure,” explained Royal Windsor driving secretary Annabel Cameron, “and in particular the amount of space taken by the [driving trials] competitors’ horseboxes and trailers.
“The committee decided that we need to reduce the numbers of competitors and we can’t limit entries if we run all classes at international level.”
Instead, the singles and pairs divisions will — like last year’s tandem sections, which are not under International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules and were by invitation only in 2006 — be run as invitational non-FEI classes. The result will be fewer competitors in the driving section. Additionally, as the classes are invitation only, points will not count towards any national league tables.
British driver Di Hayes, who won last year’s 16-strong horse singles class and is a World team gold medallist, is disappointed.
She said: “It’s a real shame because Windsor is different and gives those who may never go to championships the experience of what a big international championship is like.”
Invitations will be awarded on the basis of how well a driver did during the previous season.
Despite the loss of international status, Mrs Cameron said she was delighted not to have lost any driving trials classes at the show.
- This news report was first published in Horse & Hound (11 January, ’07)