A rise in entry fees is among the changes facing British Eventing (BE) competitors this year.
The 3% increase was revealed in the 2016 BE members’ rulebook. Prize money has also gone up at the same rate, while abandonment insurance premiums — paid with each entry — have fallen by 0.5%.
A BE spokesman said entry fees were increased in response to rising costs faced by organisers.
“Our brokers were successful in negotiating an improved premium rate on the abandonment insurance following a number of years of reasonable claims for abandoned events, which we were then able to pass to competitors for 2016,” he said.
In real terms, this takes the cost of entering a novice to £87.77, plus a start fee, which is a difference of about £2 to the cost of entering the same class last season. Start fees will remain the same as 2015, as will membership, day passes and horse registration fees.
The changes mean that the winner of an advanced will receive between £355 and £877. The equivalent figures last year were £345 and £852.
However, at many levels it is not possible to win back your entry fee.
The upper prize money limit at BE90/BE100 is £73, up from £70 (the lower limit remains at £39) and the cost of entering is £76.03, plus a start fee. Novice first place winnings are set between £72 and £125, and at intermediate ranges from £142 to £316.
Four-star eventer Paul Tapner said that he doesn’t have a problem with the cost rise, but there needs to be a prize money “revamp”.
“There is financial pressure on everybody — owners, riders and organisers — this sport is expensive,” he told H&H.
Colours and logo rules relaxed
The colour and sponsor logo rules for riders’ cross-country clothing have been relaxed.
Any colour boots are now allowed, whereas before riders were restricted to black or brown long boots, or short boots with gaiters.
Riders can also move away from traditional white, buff or fawn breeches if they choose.
The rule concerning size and location of sponsor and advertising logos, which was also restricted, has now been lifted.
“The Eventing Riders Association (ERA) has been lobbying and working with BE for the past 12 months to get that introduced,” said Paul, who is vice-president of the ERA. “It is a win for the riders — we are now given more freedom to promote our sponsors and bring more money into our sport.”
Fellow four-star eventer and H&H blogger Simon Grieve added that he thinks the sport is going in a more commercial direction and agreed it is a “good thing” that riders are able to show off their sponsors.
Rules regarding run-outs have been tightened so both of the horse’s shoulders, as well as the head and neck, must pass the correct side of the flags for penalties to be avoided.
Simon added that he believes the new timing rules and stopwatches at lower levels (news, 7 January) are a good development.
“I am all for people riding with feel and learning the pace and speed — I think a stopwatch helps that,” he said.
Other changes include seven new dressage tests, plus clarification of the rules regarding circling between parts of a combination fence and of the medical suspension criteria.