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
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