British Eventing’s announcement that entry fees and prize money will increase by five percent in 2018 has been met by mixed reviews from riders and owners.
The organisation recognised the growth in demands from all stakeholders to regulate events to the highest standard, along with the operational costs, which contributed to the BE Board approving a five percent increase for entry fees at all levels for 2018.
However, as BE has negotiated the abandonment insurance premium for next year with KBIS British Equestrian Insurance resulting in a reduction in premium of 0.75%; the nett effect is that the total amount payable for each entry will increase by 4.3%. Start fees will not be increased.
The move has also been made following consultation with British Eventing stakeholders, including the British Event Organisers Association (BEOA). A proposal from the BEOA outlined several areas where event’s running costs had increased over recent years out of line with the rate of entry fee increases. This included Business Rates which, in 2017, rose as much as 180% – 365% in the equestrian industry, other increases have been reported in medical cover and paramedics charges – up by 25%, vet fees between 17% – 40% and an increase between 10% – 26% for contractor costs.
Chairman of the BEOA Jan Cottam commented: “Over the last few years our sport has been costing more and more. On the whole, Organisers have absorbed their increases but this year we have seen a dramatic rise which has impacted on the ability to deliver the safest and best value competition. Worldwide, British Eventing has an enviable reputation which it is essential to maintain. In order to uphold these high standards, our sport must be sustainable. We cannot achieve this with a diminishing budget. Organisers are conscious of the cost for members but to compromise on safety and top rate competition would be a retrograde step that will not be taken.”
One BE member told Eventing Worldwide: Amateur and grassroots riders do this as a hobby – they can choose to compete or not. Professional riders can’t choose – it’s their job. They have to enter to add value to their horses and make their owners happy. BE need to take account of this, otherwise the sport will simply become more top-end focussed and will also lose emerging talent. Most grass roots riders also never see prizes since these are usually won by the professionals, so this is only an increase for them, there is no counter-balance in prize money.”
Another told the publication: “An increase of that amount is not compensated by yearly salary increases at this present time, or increases to salary in the past five years. I feel you will loose members and participation numbers will decrease as a result. New riders to British Eventing are already put off from registering and competing due to current prices – surely these should be the priority as well as existing members as they are the future of the sport.”
The Eventing Worldwide Facebook page has been flooded with comments since the announcement was made last week. There were many comments in support of the price increase, with many pointing out will be less than £5 extra per entry with others feeling that it would put people off and they would now consider running at unaffiliated events run over the same courses. Whilst some riders did not have an issue about the price increase they raised concerns about the lack or and quality of prizes offered, particularly at the lower levels where prizes are donated in kind.