There are comments on social media pages over the return of start fees following abandonment of the second day at Warwick Hall last weekend. To clarify the situation: BE Officials, in conjunction with us as Joint Organisers, decided the ground in the Show Jumping arena, around the Cross Country courses and in the vehicle park would not take the continuing rain, especially given the firmly predicted by the Met Office wave of heavy downpours arriving overnight. The event would therefore be unsafe for all concerned. This decision was taken at about 7.30pm. British Eventing were immediately
informed, and a text message sent out to all those competing. The terms of the event followed Rule 4.12.2 Stage 5 Minimum Refund Policy – In all circumstances the Starting Fee, plus VAT where applicable, is refundable in full if the competitor does not start the dressage phase and, from 17.00 the afternoon before the event day in question – 0% of refund of entry fees. If the event had been abandoned before 17.00 up to 5 days before the event commenced, then 15% of entry fees would have been refunded. The competition was however still running safely at that time albeit with considerably deepening going in the Show Jumping. By abandoning at this time we genuinely believe we saved hundreds of competitors considerable expense in travelling to the event the next day.
A couple of years ago it was decided by the BE Board following pressure from the Riders Working Groups that a 15% insurance premium was too expensive to bear by Members on top of the entry and start fees in what was becoming an increasingly competitive market place, and therefore Organisers could arrange their own insurance at their own cost but without any pricing mechanism to pass this cost on to the entrants. Some events now choose to pay this, and others do not.
Warwick Hall was fully set up to run a BE Affiliated event, all costs were incurred and although no prize money or dressage judge expenses were settled, and a few contractors have kindly discounted their charges, some £6000 in start fees have now been returned. This has not benefitted the Organisers at all, which along with mass withdrawals from the Warwick Hall International event when dry and hot weather was to blame, leaves the viability of our events in question.
We appreciate that several of the retributive comments on social media about the situation are made by BE Members who are new to the sport and are not familiar with the previous Abandonment Insurance Premium scheme which covered all affiliated events and which adequately recompensed competitors but at their own expense. If BE Members wish to see a return to a centrally arranged abandonment insurance, they are encouraged to contact BE.
No Organiser or BE Official likes to abandon an event and the disappointment it creates is shared by everyone.
Lucinda and Douglas Weymouth (Joint Organisers).