Making the decision to cancel the international show we were due to run recently at Keysoe was frustrating for everyone, and obviously very disappointing for the riders who were going to come — but with the number of entries we had it just wasn’t viable.
We had scheduled a second ranking class to try to encourage people to jump. If the show had gone ahead with the numbers as they were, we’d have ended up losing between £30,000 and £40,000, which our business simply could not survive.
The Mediterranean Equestrian Tour tour in Spain hadn’t really entered my mind when I went for our usual show date this year. It hasn’t seemed to affect us in the past, but this time riders who might have come to our CSI show flocked there instead.
Shows in Britain are being left behind. Riders can go to a CSI in Europe every weekend or spend months jumping in Spain. There, they will find top facilities and a big audience of potential buyers. You won’t find many people with chequebooks open at a winter premier show here.
The classes in Britain appear a little obsolete, with less demand for a show from newcomers upwards — a category three show — in winter, and more riders wanting the chance to take a boxful of horses for all classes from British novice upwards — category two.
Showjumping is evolving so fast that it’s almost a different sport from week to week. To keep up, we need to evolve, too. The landscape is very different from when show categories were first introduced.
We really need the British Showjumping office to engage with organisers and riders and get a mix of classes that suits our businesses and those riders who stay in this country.
This column was published in Horse & Hound; 19 December 2019, and went to press before it was announced that Keysoe’s summer CSI show was also not going to go ahead
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