Time For a New Team Challenge

All this talk of team selection for the World Equestrian Games and the shenanigans that go with it has got me thinking – Let’s have an alternative team competition format.

Now I’m not suggesting we ditch the current championship formats, but I do recon there’s room for a fresh approach. Sit in the lorry park of any major horse trials with cool beer on a summer evening with a bunch of eventers, and guaranteed at some point the conversation turns to team selection.

Here’s the thing, everybody has an opinion on who and who should not be in a team, nobody likes the politics and shenanigans that goes on behind the scenes, the GB Team selections for WEG2010 raised eyebrows and suffered plenty of criticism. Our team sport at present is all based around nations, this inevitably leads to background engineering to get the best horses into ‘your team’, hence you’ll see a number of riders retain significant shares in their rides so the horses can’t be ‘repatriated’ by owners.

Another favourite topic over the BBQ is the lack of prizemoney for many of these big events, but I’ll leave that topic for a dedicated post.

Anyway, back to the whole team theme. Nobody is ever happy about team selection so I think we should run a team challenge event or series where teams can be formed by riders, relatively freely, in much the same way as say, Polo, Team Chasing, or Formula 1. You’d have 4 riders in each team and restrict teams to say having no more that 2 medal winners in their quartet, which would prevent any mirroring of the nation team format.

This format could quite easily slot into the normal eventing calendar and be run under normal one-day rules as an extra section, which means you could also run this team format at various levels, giving everyone a chance to be part of a team.

Individual fan bases: poor monetisation

This type of team format is a great way to build deeper engagement both internally within the eventing circuit, as well as the audience. Team fan bases are always stronger than personality fan bases, plus merchandise, sponsorship and other monetising opportunities are always more successful.

There’s surely got to be more milage in a team challenge/series of this nature than many of the series we currently have.

I would be one of the first to form a team, how about you?

Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.


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