Horse & Hound

Questions raised over prize money rules in eventing

Events have not had to offer monetary rewards since July, but stakeholde­rs are keen this does not set a precedent


EVENTING prize money is back in the spotlight as stakeholde­rs hope rules allowing organisers to waive it will not become the norm.

Awarding prize money was made optional as part of protocols to help the sport resume in July.

Mark Phillips raised the topic in H&H (comment, 10 September) questionin­g how important prize money is at regular fixtures.

“Could giving organisers the option of offering something between pre-Covid levels and zero help make organisers’ lives easier and provide owners and riders with cheaper entries?” he asked.

The subject sparked debate, including a strong view from the Eventing Riders Associatio­n of Great Britain (ERA) as well as support from other stakeholde­rs for prize money to be reinstated.

British Eventing (BE) CEO Jude Matthews told H&H the decision to remove the mandate for prize money was to help with the sport’s resumption.

“We felt it was more important for members to have the opportunit­y to have competitiv­e runs, and were aware that, for some organisers, the difference between paying prize money and not made the difference between being able to run or not,” she said.

“Organisers have to display whether or not they are paying prize money on schedules so riders can make an informed choice about where to enter.

“We are reviewing the position, with our stakeholde­r groups including ERA, for 2021 if Covid restrictio­ns remain in place.”


ERA president Bruce Haskell told H&H ERA is “incredibly grateful” to those involved in getting eventing up and running.

“In the early days, it was evident prize money needed to be put aside to get the sport going for events restricted on numbers,” he said. He added that while some organisers have been “fantastic” in offering prize money, others with high demand have not, and “we do not want this to set a precedent”.

Event Horse Owners Associatio­n chairman Linda Allen told H&H “transparen­cy is key” and getting prize money restored is “important to the financial wellbeing of riders and owners”.

“Owners appreciate there has been great concern on the part of organisers about running events when they didn’t know how many horses would be fit and entered, and when fewer horses can run, plus any new restrictio­ns could mean events would be cancelled at short notice,” she said, adding that thanks is due to event organisers and sponsors where prize money has been awarded this season.

“However, some events have run with high numbers and appear to be viable, and in future, owners trust similarly fortunate organisers will operate with fairness and award prize money.”

British-based five-star New Zealand eventer Jesse Campbell told H&H he is in full support of prize money returning and suggested more discussion between riders and organisers could help both sides understand each other’s challenges – and find a solution that helps all sides.

“I think this could also be a good opportunit­y to try to re-jig it and work out a better way than the [pre-Covid] system,” he said.

“I think there is definitely room for improvemen­t.”

British Eventing Organisers Associatio­n chairman Jan Cottam told H&H when resumption of eventing was initially considered, organisers were aware new protocols would be needed, all with implementa­tion costs.

She added that sponsorshi­p, on

“There is definitely room for improvemen­t”


which many events depend, is also a “rare commodity” at present.

“An extra complicati­on was having to reduce the number of competitor­s. Initially we were looking at running at just over a third of capacity. We weren’t even sure we would get anyone.

“A limit on entries was mandated by BE, which represents a 15% decrease in organisers’ income.”

Mrs Cottam added that to the sport’s “immense relief ” the appetite to compete was huge.

“As most entries were full, the majority of organisers have chosen to award prize money, although some have reduced prize funds due to the financial burden faced by Covid restrictio­ns,” she said.

 ??  ?? Some events have offered prize money this season. Library image
Some events have offered prize money this season. Library image

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