A group of the country’s leading equestrian centres has joined forces to promote their activities.
The Premier Centres’ Association (PCA), which met for the first time in December, is comprised of Addington Manor, Arena UK, The College, The Hand, Patchetts, Rowallan, South View and Unex Towerlands.
The PCA will launch a website to broadcast live classes from the centres later this month and it is hoped these programmes may be distributed to tv channels. Members are also looking at establishing a series for young horses with Olympic potential.
Events manager Alan Beaumont is co-ordinating the group. He told H&H the PCA had been formed to promote all equestrian activities that take place at the venues and to “get show jumping back where it should be”.
He explained: “All the centres involved have been experiencing the same sort of problems individually, especially with raising sponsorship, so we thought it made more sense to try to solve them together.
“The BSJA is looking at sponsorship, but nothing has yet been done by the centres. With most putting up prize-money themselves, more sponsorship is needed if they are to become financially viable.”
Arena UK manager Sarah Watson said she hoped a national association of centres would be more attractive to potential sponsors.
But David Broome, owner of Wales & The West showground, told H&H he had no interest in joining the fledgling association.
“I wish them all luck,” he said. “They tell me it’s all about progress, but I’m a BSJA man myself.”
Mr Beaumont denied the PCA had been set up to challenge the BSJA.
He said: “We’ve already met [BSJA head of sponsorship] Maria Clayton and have a meeting with other BSJA officials, including chief executive Jacky Wood, pencilled in for April. We want to work with the BSJA, not against it.”
BSJA spokesman Jacky Knightley said: “We believe the PCA and BSJA will push the sport forward together.”
The PCA meets on a bi-monthly basis. Membership is open to other privately owned centres. The annual fee of £1,000 goes towards the running the association, though Mr Beaumont said this figure would reduce if more centres joined.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (12 April, ’07)