Amateur riders are welcoming two new up-to-height Trailblazers showjumping classes due to start next month.
The open-to-anyone “unaffiliated” Trailblazers competitions will include 1.10m and 1.15m classes — the equivalent of British Showjumping’s (BS) newcomers and just lower than its Foxhunters.
Working rider Ian Asher, from Blackburn, told H&H: “As an amateur, it’s not financially viable to affiliate with all three bodies [British Dressage (BD), BS and British Eventing (BE)].
“My wife and I have a couple of horses we compete with BE and hunt during the winter, so to be able to jump well-built tracks at well-run centres without affiliating is superb.”
Trailblazers director Norman Bargh from Osbaldeston Riding Centre in Lancashire, which holds the first classes on 26 September, said the move is in response to rider requests.
“We often see a horse doing dressage with the mother and showjumping with the daughter — people are finding it too expensive to join all the disciplines,” he said.
Unlike BS, for which full adult membership costs £120, with horse registration fees starting at £20, there is no Trailblazers membership fee and entries are just £10 a class. But unlike BS, there is little or no prize-money.
“People use it to get ‘ringcraft’,” explained Mr Bargh.
Fiona Lace from Ormskirk said it will be good practice for her intermediate eventer, adding: “The existing classes are too small — but I do BS classes on a day ticket, too.”
Mr Bargh rebuffs any suggestion that Trailblazers is aiming to compete with BS.
BS chief executive Iain Graham concurs, adding: “We have been working together and we wish them well.
“We recognise the costs [of affiliating to three disciplines]and work is being done to review member benefits [letters, 5 August],” he said.
“BS will be announcing some changes by 1 January.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (19 August, 2010)