Olympic medallist Bettina Hoy and European champion Nicolas Touzaint are the latest riders to sign up for Express Eventing.

Swedish star Linda Algotsson and American Buck Davidson are also named among the creme de la creme of equestrian riders who will be competing for the Express Eventing International Cup at the Millennium Stadium on 30 November.

Sixteen other world class riders have already signed up - British Olympians Mary King, Tina Cook and William Fox-Pitt, British riders Lucy Wiegersma and Oliver Townend, New Zealand Olympians Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson and Caroline Powell, German Dirk Schrade, Belgian Karin Donckers, Italian Vittoria Panizzon, American Philip Dutton, Australians Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks, Chinese teenager Alex Hua Tian and Rodolphe Scherer from France.

Express Eventing, in association with British Eventing, will combine all the skill and excitement of three day eventing in just half a day, within the enclosed sporting arena of the Millennium Stadium.

This new competition is designed to open up the sport to a wider global audience and provide a showcase for eventing's top riders. For the very first time, spectators will be able to watch all three disciplines - dressage, show jumping and cross-country from one seat, and follow the progress of every horse and rider at each stage of the competition.

Former international rider and the brains behind the concept, Stuart Buntine, said: "Express Eventing is designed to promote traditional eventing, not to replace it. Three day events are held in fabulous places, but they actually last over five days and the competitions are spread out, making it difficult for the public to follow what's going on. With Express Eventing, spectators can watch all three phases without moving from their seat.

Riders will be competing for an unprecedented a £100,000 first prize, part of a £250,000 prize pot.

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Hi Gary, We've just had a simillar event at the Adelaide Royal, without the dressage phase. We didn't have any where near that sort of prize money of course, but it was a crowd pleaser. It was put on to drum up a bit more crowd support for the Australian International Horse Trials , which were held here in Adelaide last weekend. Eventing in this country doesn't have a huge profile like it does in the U.S.A. or the U.K. So if it gets bums on seats thats great. Also I asked to build a x-country course for a pony club a few yaers back , but they didn't have enough room to build a full course . I'd heard of a comp being run in Victoria that was a short course compitition. You do a dressage test then a shortened x-country course of about 12 or 15 jumps , over about a kilometre or less . Then within one minete you present to the showjump judge and do your round to finish. It has been very sucessful for the club , so I'm going to build another course on our property this year and run a sister event. Cheers Geoff
Sounds like fun. I'll bet it really takes off.
It sounds like it's going to be a really great event. They have announced that Andrew Lloyd Webber & Arlene from Strictly Come Dancing are guest judges for the dressage so that should encourage some flamboyant routines from the riders!

Because it is a huge prize pot (Badminton 3DE has a £60,000 first prize, this has £100,000) the British riders are training very very hard for the competition.
Express eventing in the UK was a total disaster in 2008, with top riders being utterly flummoxed by the complicated, and over tecnical, course, with the end result being that one top riders horse died. Many of the grandstand seats were left empty, due to poor marketing of the event. It was over complicated and hyped. All of the people I know who attended the event were disgusted.

This was one spectators account of the 2008 event, from the BE forum:

Here's a bright idea: SCRAP IT.

Express Eventing

I attended Express Eventing with high expectations. It started well. The dressage to music was fun, with some fabulous performances, and some amusing comments from the celebrity judges.

But within minutes of the jumping phase starting, a feeling of unease grew into one of disbelief, dismay, and, ultimately, horror.

It quickly became apparent that it was all going badly wrong. When the best riders in the world, on the best horses in the world fail, one after another, to get round, alarm bells should have been ringing loud and clear.

The following are some of the problems that seemed obvious to me:

• The course was too intense, too complex, too big and too crowded for a confined space.

• The “pit stop” prevented riders from making last minute mental preparation; there was no time to adjust or confirm their original plans.

It also precluded the proper preparation of the horses – many wore tendon boots and none were greased….

• Speed was far too influential – how inappropriate that getting changed quickly should prove to be more important than horses’ safety? And this despite the current (excellent) emphasis within our sport of “safety first”.

• The commentator whipped up the audience, not all of whom understood the sport, into a frenzy of cheering and shouting as horses and riders needed maximum concentration on the difficult task of riding an advanced course. This was wholly inappropriate and, in my opinion, downright negligent.

• The course design and build had serious flaws. Surely it was foreseeable that a roll top bank with a sand on wood surface would be an unfair question for the horses and would, inevitably, be slippery?

The same bank sounded hollow as horses landed on it. Was this a safe and sensible design?

The construction of the corner after the bank was dangerous. It was certainly foreseeable that horses might bank it, (several did), and the total collapse of its surface, leaving a gaping chasm as Gandalf pushed off it, was as close to disastrous as it could possibly have been.

• The technicality of almost every fence offered no let up, and the horses were clearly losing confidence as they were faced with question after question in an enclosed space, surrounded by yelling crowds. I wonder if their confidence will return, or will we have lost some of our most talented horses in the name of entertainment?

• The pressures of hype, public expectation, organiser expectation and the lure of huge prize money increased the danger of an already dangerous sport to unacceptable levels.

It is said that hindsight is a wonderful thing. Let hindsight now show us that the whole concept of this type of competition is seriously flawed.

This competition should not be adjusted in any way. It should be scrapped. I was disturbed to read the reports, including British Eventing’s, hailing it as an exciting success. It was no such thing. It was a disaster. We bear a collective responsibility for the safety of our brave, trusting sport horses; owners, riders, spectators and organisers. In Express Eventing we failed them miserably; let us be big enough to hold our hands up and say:

“Sorry, we got it wrong. It will not be repeated.”

We owe this much, at least, to our horses.

Express Eventing has been re-invented, but we wait with baited breath to see if it succeeds next time in delivering all that it promises...
After attending Rolex a few years ago and having the opportunity to speak with some proffesional riders of the calaber to have riden rolex befor. I am very thankful for your imput. Eventing is a tremendously challenging sport and the public needs to understand that it is not a dirt bike race for their enjoyment. The horses need the long format to physically prepare for the demands. I think asking questions of the horse is brilliant, but also allowing the horse to succesfully answer those questions is imperative to there success. Speed racing through a demanding sport isn't going to show case it in it's true glory. Educational forums with demonstrations sounds much more reasonable than risking these proffesionals to some idea that eventing isn't exciting enough for the general public.


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