Several show centres have told H&H they are cutting back their affiliated jumping programmes as British Showjumping (BS) classes prove economically unviable.
BS members and show organisers are calling on the society to provide some subsidy, or risk losing certain local show centres altogether.
Tall Trees in Cornwall has announced it will no longer hold affiliated jumping “after months of poor attendance“.
Clare Deithrick, who runs the centre with her family, said: “The costs of running affiliated showjumping and the amount of prize-money we have to give have made it unviable.”
It will continue to host unaffiliated shows – where prize-money is not obligatory and registration is cheaper – and British Dressage classes, which boast better attendance. It also has plans to change its prize-money rules.
Derbyshire-based Debby Jones drove two hours to Field House, Staffs, last month to find that the junior class listed in the BS schedule would not be taking place due to lack of entries.
Field House proprietor Sue Snow said that they were making every effort to keep the junior category going.
“There has been a considerable drop in junior entries this year – it must be the recession,” she said. “We are running mixed shows [junior and senior on one day] for the first time.”
The majority of centres H&H contacted said entries in the unaffiliated sector were holding up well, or even increasing.
Debby Jones said the affiliated entry fee is off-putting and asked whether BS could subsidise to alleviate the situation.
BS confirmed that while “some geographical areas are suffering a reduction in pony shows due to a lack of support from junior competitors,” there will be no subsidies.
A spokesman said: “We are actively promoting membership and developing grassroots pony series to encourage membership growth.”
Competitors and centres have also complained that calendar clashes make low entries inevitable, with riders naturally gravitating to the larger centres.
But a BS spokesman said “considerable time was spent” on avoiding clashes.
“Every effort is made to accommodate the dates our organisers submit, while keeping conflicts to a minimum,” she said.
This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse and Hound (10 November, 2011)