|More Foreign Riders Are Moving To Britain Chasing Medals|
Someone now based in the states, recently told me she really missed the eventing circuit back here in the UK, and trawling the web last night looking at photos and videos of events from around the globe got me thinking about how lucky we are in the UK to have an eventing circuit with such depth and variety.
As anyone knows the British circuit attracts more talent from around the world, than any other eventing nation, thanks to a number of factors; climate, geographical proximity of events, number & variety of events, and a long history and experience of running large events. I’m lucky enough to live in an area of the UK that is home to a number of top foreign and domestic event riders and have several events running all manner of classes within a 50 mile radius, where as in Germany, France or America you would have to travel 100’s of miles to experience the same variety and quality of events. Unlike some in the British ranks I welcome the diversity of nations we have based here eventing, it spices things up.
There are two visiting nations that do particularly well visiting the UK for our major events, France & Germany, who both have a good variety of bigger events themselves, yet in the last decade we have seen only one foreign based rider win either of the two biggest events on the global circuit (Badminton & Burghley), and that was Nicolas Touzaint who won Badminton in 2008. Phillip Dutton came close with a 2nd at Burghley in 2005. Look at the individual medal winners of World Equestrian Games or Olympics over the last ten years and you’ll notice one common theme, all of them have finished in the top 15 at Badminton or Burghley. There is one exception, Jean Teulère, WEG Gold Winner in 2002. There are also very few team medal holders that haven’t done well at either Badminton or Burghley.
|Big Crowds at British 4*s | Makes All The Difference|
So to my point! To have any real chance of success at a games, you have to have done well at Badminton or Burghley, nothing new there perhaps, but I think there is more to this than just the severity of the competitions themselves. Both the World Equestrian Games & The Olympics attract huge crowds, as does Badminton and Burghley, we’re talking well over 100,000 generally. This size of crowd generates a huge buzz and with that pressure to perform, so there can be no better preparation for a WEG or Olympics than the two british 4* events.
I have been watching a few videos of Rolex CCI****, including a rider cam clip from Peter Atkins, and although I know Rolex doesn’t get quite the attendance that our British 4*s do, I was surprised at how empty most of the course was. Video footage from other 4*s in Europe and Australia, tell a similar story.
|San Francisco | New 4 Star Venue?|
Personally I think the US is desperately lacking an Autumn (Fall) CCI****, that probably needs to be held in a location where you have predictable weather patterns, a major international airport, and a major city, Florida or California perhaps. This is undoubtedly the reason we see more US based riders venture across the pond for Burghley, rather than Badminton, and I love the idea of going to San Francisco to watch a 4*, whilst adding a little business trip to Silicon Valley, and just think of all those fabulously wealthy companies that could sponsor it! Now there’s a job I wouldn’t mind having – inaugural Event Director of San Francisco CCI****. What the Americans always do very well is to put on a show, and the WEG 2010 is shaping up to be one of the best there’s ever been, and I’ll probably miss it!
Anyway if you’re looking for medal winners for the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games, first take a look at Badminton & Burghley results.
We Brits really are very lucky! Now if we can just find a way to increase prizemoney, that would help too! The next two years here are going to be phenomenal, lots of jostling for the best horses over the next year, and an Olympics on home turf the following year. As ‘Glenn The Geek‘ might say “that’s very exciting”!