Why the cost of en­ter­ing a horse tri­als is on the up

It will cost more to com­pete next year but prize money will also in­crease

Horse & Hound - - Contents - By LUCY EL­DER

THE in­crease in 2018 event­ing en­try fees and prize money ver­sus the huge costs of host­ing an event has sparked lively de­bate on­line.

Some riders have crit­i­cised Bri­tish Event­ing (BE), while oth­ers pointed out the cost of run­ning events is “stag­ger­ing”.

En­try fees and prize money will in­crease by 5% at all BE lev­els from 2018. Start fees will not go up and the aban­don­ment in­sur­ance pre­mium has been re­duced by 0.75%. This takes the to­tal in­crease per en­try to 4.3%.

This means a BE90 or BE100 (with prize money) en­try fee will go up by £3.32 to £80.59, in­clud­ing VAT. The lower-limit prize money for first place in­creases by £1.95 to £40.09, and up­per limit by £3.75 to £78.75.

Ad­vanced en­try fees will in­crease by £7.12 to £172.80, while first-place prize money in­creases from a lower limit of £360 to £378 and up­per limit from £890 to £934.50.

Some riders said they, and oth­ers, al­ready strug­gle and the rise will make it “un­af­ford­able to the av­er­age per­son”. Oth­ers said the sport is be­com­ing more elite and less ac­ces­si­ble.

The rise fol­lows con­sul­ta­tion with the Bri­tish Event Or­gan­is­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (BEOA), which out­lined ar­eas where fix­tures’ run­ning costs had in­creased “out of line” with en­try fee in­creases.

These in­cluded busi­ness rates, med­i­cal cover and para­medic charges and vets’ fees.

BEOA chair­man Jan Cot­tam said a sur­vey of event or­gan­is­ers’ ex­pen­di­ture came back with some “fairly ter­ri­fy­ing” statis­tics.

“We have ab­sorbed ris­ing costs,” she added. “Con­trac­tors, who sup­ply things such as med­i­cal cover and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, are aware of the cost of putting on com­pe­ti­tions and try hard to keep costs down — but this year they have all gone up a lot.”

Mrs Cot­tam also stressed the im­por­tance of look­ing af­ter and feed­ing vol­un­teers, with­out whom the events would not hap­pen.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

THE or­gan­iser of Far­ley Hall, Natalie Gaibani, cal­cu­lated the cost of run­ning two com­pe­ti­tion days at a 2014 fix­ture as £41,000 (opin­ion, 11 Fe­bru­ary 2016).

Twe­sel­down’s Rachael Faulkner said her ex­pe­ri­ence as or­gan­iser and rider helps her un­der­stand both an­gles.

“When I started or­gan­is­ing I found many hid­den costs you have no idea about — nec­es­sary costs that, as a rider, you just don’t re­alise ex­ist,” she told H&H.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and sound sys­tems cost about £4,000 per event, while cater­ing for the

March fix­ture was over £7,500.

“With the sound comes all com­mu­ni­ca­tions, to all your judges’ boxes, to cross-coun­try con­trol, and that has a safety as­pect — we have to have that,” she said. “An­other stag­ger­ing cost is cater­ing — we have all these won­der­ful peo­ple giv­ing up time and we need to look af­ter them.”

Other ma­jor out­go­ings in­clude med­i­cal fees, course-de­sign and build and ground main­te­nance.

“The dif­fer­ence be­tween mak­ing and los­ing money is the num­ber of en­tries,” she added.

“The daily run­ning costs of an event are vir­tu­ally the same whether you have 100 com­peti­tors or 300 — that cost is fixed.”

“BE gives a sup­port net­work se­cond to none. The BE plat­form is also a fan­tas­tic mar­ket­ing tool. Be­ing at­tached to the brand gives your event cred­i­bil­ity,” she said.

Ham­ble­den or­gan­iser Lisa Hughes pointed out the sport is an ex­pen­sive hobby and she would not ex­pect sub­si­dis­ing of other pricey ac­tiv­i­ties, such as ski­ing.

She added some riders need to un­der­stand how ex­pen­sive run­ning events is, and the money has to come from some­where.

Or­gan­is­ers have cited huge costs of run­ning events

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