British Eventing announce Helen West as CEO
British Eventing is pleased to announce the appointment of Helen West as CEO with effect from 2 August 2021.
Helen’s demonstrable business acumen, extensive knowledge of the sport and her vision for British Eventing stood out.
Helen’s background is steeped in eventing. She is a former Young Rider gold medallist who has evented to CCI4* level, representing Great Britain on multiple occasions and competing at the highest levels in all three Olympic disciplines. She still actively competes in her spare time.
For the last eight years, Helen has managed Bicton Arena for Clinton Devon Estates. Helen is a previous Event Riders’ Association Organiser of the Year, responsible for the hugely popular Bicton Horse Trials, which runs three times each season from BE80 to CCI3*. Bicton (3) also hosts the Grassroots BE100 three-day event. In 2021 Helen has been instrumental in developing the inaugural BE90 three-day event as well as organising a replacement fixture for Bramham CCI4* to take place in June.
Helen is also an FEI Level 3 cross country course designer and a member of the British Eventing Cross Country Advisory Group. She is passionate about driving event standards up and is a firm believer in the importance of educational courses.
Helen commented, “I am thrilled to have been appointed as British Eventing’s Chief Executive; the Sport has been a large part of my life for many years. As a membership organisation, collaboration with key stakeholders is essential to developing growth within the Sport and providing a sustainable business model for the future. This requires both knowledge and vision, which I will bring to the organisation. My vision is for the Sport to unite together and thrive.”
Fiona O’Hara, Chair of the Board said, “The Board and I are very much looking forward to working with Helen. Her deep understanding of all facets of the sport and her vision for its future make her an outstanding choice for Chief Executive. We would also like to pay tribute to Jude Matthews who has worked incredibly hard as the outgoing Chief Executive to guide the sport through the Covid pandemic. We wish Jude every success in the next chapter of her career.”
The recruitment process for Chief Executive was led by the BE Board, with candidates sourced through an advertising campaign and a headhunter. Candidates were shortlisted to be interviewed by three panels comprising two Non-Executive Directors and one Stakeholder Association Chair from the BEOA, EHOA and ERA of GB, followed finally by an interview with Chair Fiona O’Hara.
International eventing action returned at the FEI Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market Horse Trials last weekend (16 April 2021).
It was a much-anticipated day for equestrianism and the sport certainly didn’t disappoint. Piggy March reminded everyone of the depth and quality in her yard, by taking a one, two, three in section C of the CCI4*S with Brookfield Innocent (25.9), Dargun (26.9) and Fonbherna Lancer (29.1) respectively, after day 1 of dressage.
“It’s just great to be getting out and doing something,” said Piggy. “They’re all very nice horses. I’m very lucky and looking forward to the competition ahead.”
Reigning Burghley Champions, Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street, look the early lead in Section B of the CCI4* on a score of 25.4.
Day two saw Laura Collett, take the lead both sections of the CCI4*S at the close of dressage. In Section B Laura held not only the lead but the top two places – with Mr Bass producing a stunning test for a score of 24 and his stablemate, Dacapo, lying just behind with a score of 25.1. It was Laura's 2020 Pau CCI5* winner, London 52, who took the lead in Section C on a score of 23.8.
Laura was especially pleased with Mr Bass’s performance, who she feels is really coming of age now. “I’m delighted,” she said. “He doesn’t find dressage easy and he tried so hard, so I’m really proud of him. I’m so lucky to ride horses like this.”
Those lucky enough to be at Burnham Market on Sunday (18 April) were treated to an amazing day of world-class sport, all set in the glorious sunshine of North West Norfolk.
For the first time in over a decade, FEI eventing world number one, Oliver Townend’s name was not on the winners list for the four-star competition. Instead it was time for a bit of girl power, with brilliant victories for Kitty King and Piggy March.
Kitty King took the honours in CCI4*S Section B with her lovely young horse, Cristal Fontaine. They finished on a score of 28.1. “He’s a very special horse and I’m very lucky to have him for his owners, Camilla and Alex Wakeley,” said Kitty.
“He was absolutely fantastic today. He was green on the cross country course, it’s the toughest track he’s seen, but he was so genuine. It wasn’t always the tidiest but he got it done and every time I said, ‘come on let’s do this’, he answered every question.”
The top three in this section all put in gallant jumping performances to complete on their dressage scores. Fans were delighted to see Piggy March’s 2019 Badminton winner, Vanir Kamira, flying round the course – the pair finished in second on a score of 28.7, just ahead of Gemma Tattersall and one of her homebred Chilli progenies, Chilli Knight, in third (30.6).
In CCI4*S Section C, the top two placings were reversed, with a win for Piggy and Dargun (26.9) and second place for Kitty and Vendredi Biats (27.5). Izzy Taylor completed the first three in this section, finishing third with Monkeying Round (29.9) after an unlucky pole in the show jumping.
“I was delighted with him in all three phases,” said Piggy of Dargun. “He tried as hard as he could and it’s exciting moving forward. It’s just great to be getting going; getting competitive and starting to ride round some good tracks.”
Laura Collett jumped clear in the showjumping with all three of her rides, however she took the decision to withdraw prior to the cross-country due to the firmness of the ground.
As the sun set on three days of outstanding eventing competition, the real win for equestrianism was undoubtedly the opportunity to see so many of the world’s best horses back galloping around the country. There was wonderful feeling of fun and satisfaction throughout the weekend, with the owners finally able to see horses run at this level.
It is with great regret that we announce that, following discussion with the European CCI3*S Cup Chairman of Selectors Andrew Chadwick and his fellow colleagues, British Eventing will not be fielding a team or individuals for the 2021 European Cup in 2021 which was scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland in September.
The Championship, formerly known as the Rural Riders European Championships and then the CIC2* European Championships, is run under a unique format which differs from other eventing Championships by having six members in the team that perform a team dressage test, commanded by the Chef d'Equipes.
Chair of Selectors Andrew Chadwick “Considering my colleague’s thoughts and concerns and shared by myself, I have concluded that we are simply not able to enter a team or individuals that would be viable or realistic under the current circumstances not only in the UK but across Europe as well. Naturally, this is hugely disappointing, but I feel it is the right decision given the ever-changing environment that we are faced with. I feel it only right that this decision be made now rather than risk giving false hope to those seeking selection and to avoid unnecessary pressure on the selectors and trainers in trying to get a team together.”
The Event organisers are still considering the question of postponing the European Cup until 2022 but have reserved a decision on this to no later than June 2021.
Andrew added “We will continue to plan to field a better and stronger team for 2022 or 2023 whichever the date is for the next European Cup.”
Unfortunately, due to insufficient entries at the time of Moreton Morrell’s (1) ballot date, the event have made the difficult decision to reduce to running one day of competition on Thursday 6 May 2021.
Wayne Rodwell, Organiser of Moreton Morrell commented that “we are hugely disappointed to be in the position to make the decision to reduce to just one day of competition. Unfortunately due to the low number of entries, running the event over two days is unviable for us. We, as a College, felt it important to do all we could to go ahead with our long running May horse trials event, and are sad to have to reduce to just one day of competition. We wish everyone a great season ahead and hope to see you all at Moreton Morrell at the end of September for our next BE event.”
Moreton Morrell (1) was due to run two days of competition on Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 May with BE90, BE100 and Novice classes. As a result of reducing to one day of competition the event will not be running BE90 classes or Novice Regional Final, and those competitors impacted will receive a full refund. We understand that this will be deeply disappointing and apologise for any inconvenience, however running two days was not viable in this instance.
The following events are still accepting entries for BE90 and / or BE90 Open classes:
If you are a BE100 and BE100 Open competitor entered to compete at Moreton Morrell (1) on Wednesday 5 May and cannot move to compete on Thursday 6 May, please contact the entries secretary for a full refund before Monday 19th April firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for us to maintain social distance, in 2020 BE introduced a policy whereby competitor numbers should be printed at home.
Along with payment of the start fee online, this removed the need to visit the Entry Secretary’s tent on arrival at a competition, minimising contact and saving time for competitors to support the ‘arrive, compete and leave’ principle.
We have resumed sport in 2021 broadly under the same principles, with some important additional changes as detailed below. It is important that competitors make themselves aware of the policy that each event has in place as shown on their online event schedules.
Sponsor names on numbers
The ability to promote a brand on competitor numbers is a valuable asset to events. The support that the sport receives from a number of companies is incredibly important, and it is therefore crucial that any sponsorship arrangements are delivered.
Where a section is sponsored by a company and their name is displayed onto numbers these numbers must be worn by competitors. The rule amendment below highlights that these numbers may be printed online or provided by the event within COVID-19 protocols. Each event will make any requirements clear in their online schedule.
Where sections do not carry a sponsor logo, and to aid in the reduction of printing, competitors may also use re-usable number inserts in their bibs. There are a number of products available on the market for use in BE competition. Following a selection process BE have granted a licence to NumberPro to provide re-usable numbers carrying the BE brand, with a financial return to BE for each NumberPro purchased.
You may also continue to print your own numbers if you prefer.
2021 Competitor number rule amendments
Organisers may stipulate in their Event Schedule the arrangements for competitors bib numbers. Where instructions are provided, competitors may not be allowed to compete unless these directions are complied with. Where there are no instructions, the Competitor should produce their own competitor bib number. The alternatives will include
In the dressage and show jumping phases, the type of number to be worn is at the discretion of the Organiser
In the cross-country phase of the competition, bib numbers must be worn and must be clearly visible from in front and from behind.
With the key date of 29th March being reached and HMG restrictions being relaxed as per their roadmap. The restriction of NO Owners at Aston Le Walls Elite Event 31st March 2021, will now be relaxed to normal C19 Sport Protocols under operation for all British Eventing Events in weeks 5 and 6.
-Owners - 1 Owner per horse / 2 Owners per horse if from the same household. (Under Review for Events running from 12th April 2021)
Following the cancellation of Rockingham International Horse Trials, set to run in May, the organising teams at Little Downham (Cambs.) and Tweseldown (Hants.) are excited to announce their collaboration for additional fixtures, allowing the heretofore cancelled CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S classes to run alongside a smorgasbord of National classes.
This unique partnership centres around the debut of a compact and forward-thinking timetable, which will see these international classes run over the course of one day each. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Tweseldownham’, the competition will run on Thursday, May 20th and Friday, May 21st at Tweseldown, followed by two days of action at Little Downham over the 22nd and 23rd of May. Both venues will host the FEI classes and National classes, allowing each organising team to host smaller international sections and the ability to run all three phases on one day. This represents a unique opportunity for competitors to gain international experience and qualifying runs while cutting the cost per run – and the associated biosecurity risk of on-site stabling – considerably.
“Like so many owners I had been looking forward to watching my horses compete at the stunning Rockingham Castle,” says Little Downham organiser Tina Ure, who created the concept. “I am grateful to British Eventing for endorsing this joint bid with Tweseldown and our innovative timetable that will enable both professional and amateur riders the opportunity to complete a CCI-S in one day. I have shared the frustration of many owners and riders about the additional expenses often incurred to compete at this level and welcomed the opportunity to try something different. Working with Rachael [Faulkner] at Tweseldown is a new collaborative venture aimed at maximising the competition opportunities for all despite the difficulties caused by the Coronavirus and EHV-1.”
Little Downham stepped in at the last minute to host the same fixture in 2012 when Brigstock cancelled, prior to the fixture being reinstated at Rockingham Castle. Tweseldown, as a venue, has a long history of hosting international fixtures dating back to the Olympic equestrian events in 1948. This fixture will, however, mark the first modern-era FEI fixture at the Hampshire venue.
“Tina Ure has been championing the idea of an all-in-one day CCI for ages, but it has taken Covid for it to come to the fore,” says Rachael Faulkner, Managing Director of Tweseldown. “I am thrilled that Tweseldown, sponsored by Lucinda Green XC Academy, will be sharing the FEI and National classes with the Childeric Little Downham Horse Trials.”
The revived fixture has attracted much praise from both professional and amateur international level competitors.
Suffolk-based New Zealand Olympian Caroline Powell commented: “This new format is a much needed and long-awaited development and could be just what’s needed to help revive and lift the sport. Keeping the costs low and limiting the need for on-site stabling will make the FEI classes more
accessible for new competitors and makes it more financially viable for professional riders and owners.”
Bristol-based professional rider Alexander Whewall said: “Rockingham was a key fixture for me with the younger 3* horses, so it’s really good to see it’s being replaced. As a professional rider running a smaller operation, the CCI events can get expensive for me, as they require longer periods of time away and therefore increased staff costs to cover the horses at home. Having a choice of locations with good ground and organisation is really good. The real bonus will be getting the CCI done in one day. That is going to be a benefit to a lot of people and we’re really keen to see how it will work.”
Amateur 5* competitor and full-time working vet Katie Preston also supported the initiative: “Being able to do a CCI3*-S in one day, at the weekend, would be a big advantage to those of us who have to juggle annual leave. By the time you’ve factored in three days off for a spring and autumn long-format, and then the time off for four to five short formats in a season, it doesn’t leave you any days for an actual holiday. On-site stabling is so expensive that I will often look for local stabling and drive in each day. This format would really reduce the costs and hassle for a large number of riders.”
Bicton Arena awarded the Bramham replacement 4* classes!
The venue has proved hugely popular with riders and there has been significant support for the venues bid, from riders on social media of the past week, and we look forward to seeing what Helen West’s team have to offer from a new 4* track.
Belsay Horse Trials adds a CCI2*-L for Juniors.
This is in addition to the British Pony Championships being hosted at the venue this year and is aimed a giving those targeting the Junior Europeans in August a prep event.
Many of the country’s leading event riders are set to converge on Oasby for their Elite event on Monday, March 22.
Organised by the team at BEDE Events, Oasby Elite attracts major names in the sport and Horse & Country will live stream more than five hours of action from the cross-country phase.
Riders making their way to the Lincolnshire event include 2020 Pau 5* winner, Laura Collet and London 52, Burghley winners, Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street along with Piggy March, Tom McEwen and Ros Canter. The line-up is second to none with many riders bringing their top horses to take part in the Open Intermediate section and get their season underway.
The stream starts at 11.30am and will run until around 5pm with the cross-country course designed to give riders and horses a good “pipe opener” as they start their competition campaign. Well-known commentator and international rider, Spencer Sturmey, will bring the action to life as riders make their way around Stuart Buntine’s cross-country course.
H&C Director of Content, Jonathan Rippon said: “We are delighted to be live streaming Oasby Elite. It will be a real feast for eventing fans to be able to see so many of the country’s major stars in action throughout the Monday afternoon. It is brilliant to get live stream coverage from the UK underway and showcase what a magical sport eventing is to our worldwide audience. We will also be live streaming Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in April and hope to announce more upcoming live streaming from other events as they get confirmed.”
To watch the live stream, make sure you are signed up to H&C+, Horse & Country’s worldwide streaming service. H&C+ members can watch online or with H&C’s mobile apps, as well as on Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire. Membership is just £5.99 per month and full details on how to join can be found at horseandcountry.tv
Specific events may have cancelled but fixtures & classes have not been lost!
British Eventing Official & the BEOA are working hard to replace events that have made the difficult decision to cancel. For this we are EXTREMELY grateful!
In a Sports Update earlier today BE confirmed a number of positive updates:
Whitfield 👉🏻 now Aston-Le-Walls (27-28 April)
Withington 👉🏻 replaced by Cirencester Park (1-2 May)
Chatsworth International 👉🏻 at the expression of interest stage with organisers
Rockingham International 👉🏻 at the tender stage following a strong interest from organisers to host the fixture
Bramham International 👉🏻 at the tender stage following a strong interest from organisers willing to take on the event.
The fixtures list will be updated ASAP and thanks to those organisers tendering for the replacement events and to Musketeer Events and aston-le-walls for already stepping up!
Please do show your support to our Affiliated events that are trying the new Elite Pathway, Try Eventing and Train For Eventing formats.