The British Equestrian Federation is “deeply sorry” for a missed deadline which has robbed the jumping at the world famous Royal Windsor Horse Show of FEI 5* status next year.
A spokesman said the BEF “is well aware this will have a significant impact on both Royal Windsor Horse Show and the sport as a whole.”
The BEF is still negotiating for Windsor to run jumping at 3* or 4* level on its preferred dates next year, having failed to apply to the FEI calendar in time.
At present dressage is also missing from Windsor’s provisional entry in the 2020 FEI calendar.
Windsor traditionally runs in the second full week of May, immediately after Badminton horse trials. But now La Baule, France, a European division one Nations Cup show, and the Global Champions Tour show in Madrid, Spain, have both taken this 2020 slot in Windsor’s apparent absence. The two shows successfully lodged a protest under Article 200.8b of the FEI’s calendar clash rules when BEF tried to submit Windsor after the deadline expired last September. 5* applications have to be made a year earlier than other types of show.
A BEF statement today said: “When the BEF identified the error it made a late submission to the FEI for 5* consideration. However, it is with enormous regret that we announce this was rejected by the two show organisers, who are also running top-level shows on the same date.
“As a result, a further submission was put forward with both a 3* and 4* classification being approved for Royal Windsor Horse Show between 13- 17 May 2020. Future dates have also been submitted for 5* consideration between 2021-2026.
“The BEF is deeply sorry for its error and has put new processes in place to ensure it will not happen again.
“The BEF has been in discussions with show director of Royal Windsor Horse Show, Simon Brooks-Ward, since the issue came to light, and the entire BEF board offers its extreme regret and apologies for its error.” It also thanks Brooks-Ward for his “professionalism and pragmatic approach.”
No further explanation has been offered as to why the deadline was missed, or when the error was noticed.
Royal Windsor was founded as wartime morale-boosting event in 1943, and is one of the few occasions that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are opened to the public. The show has always enjoyed enormous cachet amongst royal watchers but the equestrian program has been advanced in recent years. Windsor also staged the 2009 European Championships in Jumping and Dressage.
Last week the BEF’s chief executive Nick Fellowes resigned, just 16 months into the job, for undisclosed reasons. Today a BEF spokesman told Horse-Canada his departure was not connected with the Windsor mistake. The BEF has appointed the current chief of British Show Jumping, Iain Graham, as interim CEO.