NEW ADDITIONS TO BRITISH EVENTING CALENDAR

The 2016 British Eventing fixtures list boasts some exciting new opportunities as well as welcoming back many popular events at stunning venues around the country.

A welcome return to the British Eventing calendar is Offchurchbury in Warwickshire (July 2-3). The venue, which replaces Purston Manor, has previous experience of hosting BE fixtures and will be organised by Lloyd Hunt, who has organised success unaffiliated events through L&S Eventing for two years.

Lloyd, who was the recipient of the Bill Thomson Course Design bursary, comments: “It’s brilliant to be included on the BE calendar – it’s what we have been aiming for. We’ll still continue the unaffiliated events as they will help the BE competitions and visa versa. Harry Johnson is fully supportive of what we have been trying to achieve and you have to set yourselves targets with getting BE accreditation being one of them. The course design bursary has helped and it will be great to put what I have learnt into practice at our own event. British Eventing has shown its support and given us the opportunity as part of their calendar. We want to make it a friendly and approachable event and we’re looking forward to a great two days of competition.”

Two new events have been announced in Scotland – Forgandenny Horse Trials and Dupplin. Forgandenny Horse Trials in Fife (April 9-10) will be running classes at BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 level. The event’s Organiser is BE Scotland Chairman Douglas Edward who said of this new venue: “This is a very well placed venue, right in the middle of Central Scotland. We will be offering competitors in the early season a nice, flowing and inviting track for all levels of grassroots competition.”

Douglas will also be joint organiser of Dupplin in Perthshire (July 23-24) with Robert McFadzean, with the event offering BE80(T) to BE100 level classes.

Other new venues on the calendar include Speetly Equestrian Centre in Derbyshire which will offer BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 levels (June 11-12) and Horseheath in Cambridgeshire – a popular point to point venue – which will be overseen by Tim Barling and land owner Tim Vestey with a brand new cross country course designed by Tina Ure of Ely Equestrian. BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 classes will be run for its inaugural event (August 13-14).

Farley Hall returns for a third year, moving back a week to June 25-26 and adding an Intermediate class to replace the cancellation of Salperton. Work has already started on the creation of the intermediate course which will make the most of the park’s natural features. Organiser Natalie Gaibani commented: “It’s really exciting and makes me feel we are in the big league as it gets series at that level. Previously we have used a lot of portable fences but the intermediate course will have an extra loop and there will be a lot of natural features which make the most of the parkland. It’s going to be a big and bold course – it’s the time of year where people step up a level or want a run after a big event so it won’t be overly technical but a beautiful course to give a really nice ride for horse and rider. It’s quite a huge task and quite daunting to replace an event that was so well known but we have the ground and the attitude to do what Salperton did, and that was to run a good, efficient competition with great courses, and we hope to grow the event for the local area.”

Farley Hall is planning an open day in the Spring to allow riders to come and have a look at the new course, with further details being announced at a later date.

Frickley Park (1) becomes the new home of the BEu18 Regional Championships, run at BE100 and CCI1* level and previously held at Weston Park, as well as hosting the Yorkshire Challenge at Frickley Park (2) for the second year.

In addition to the new events, several popular venues will be increasing the number of BE fixtures they hold in 2016. Dalston Green in Cumbria will add an autumn event (Sept 10-11) with classes including a BE90 Regional Final whilst another Cumbria event, Warwick Hall, will run three BE competitions with the addition of a third date in July (9-10). Keysoe in Bedfordshire will also run three events in 2016 with the addition of a summer competition in June (25-26) with BE80(T) to Open Novice classes.

As well as its three popular BE fixtures, West Wilts will host a JAS competition for the first time (Jan 17), replacing The Hand as a qualifier for the finals at Hartpury in the South West. Arena UK also joins the line-up of JAS venues for riders based in Lincolnshire, whilst Golden Cross in East Sussex joins the list of venues hosting Jump Training competitions (Jan 31).

BE Chief Executive David Holmes commented: “I am delighted to welcome back many of the new initiatives which were launched in 2015 season, namely the TopSpec Corinthian Cup Challenge at the Festival of British Eventing, the Kent & Masters Arena Eventing Championships, as well as the Mitsubishi Motors Cup, which takes over from the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship at Badminton. The Fixtures Team and Regional Co-ordinators have been working hard this season to maintain the number of competition opportunities around the country as well as introducing a wealth of new events.

“Whilst we have sadly lost several long-standing horse trials, it is testament to the growth in the sport that we have a healthy number of venues regularly knocking at our door to host events. Thank you to all organisers for your huge efforts in running British Eventing affiliated fixtures both old and new.”

In 2015, Eventing Worldwide’s team of reporters and photographers covered 75% of BE fixtures. If you’d like to join the team contact Jess at jess@eventingworldwide.com.

Sarah Carless

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