Following the announcement yesterday of the revised membership fee structure, Helen would like to personally add some clarity around a couple of areas where, from feedback received, there appears to be slight confusion. She would also like to explain in a little more detail why the decision has been made to reformat the membership offering in this way.

“Let me start with clearing up at least one area of confusion – the new Pay As You go (PAYG) membership DOES apply across all levels of national competition, so it does mean that riders wishing to step up and try National Intermediate or Advanced level can use the PAYG system for as long as they wish without the need to upgrade.

“Before I move on to why we need to make changes and why we need to make them now please know that Eventing has always been my passion. I have been a competitor, I’m now an owner and until recently I was the organiser of Bicton Horse Trials. Now as CEO, my role is to listen to the membership, knowing I can’t please everyone, knowing I don’t have unlimited resources or time, but doing everything possible to grow the sport into the one that I know it both could and should be.

“One of the primary areas that clearly needs to be addressed is the fact that we have lost depth across our grassroots members and, bearing in mind that 72% of our membership compete at BE100 and below, it is important that we attract them back alongside members joining for the first time.

“Without building on the majority of our membership group our costs would have had to increase vastly year-on-year across the board to the point of them most likely being unsustainable. With this in mind, the core membership was the area of focus and the reduced membership for those competing at these levels will, I hope, see an increase in membership. Doing nothing just wasn’t an option – we needed to make some radical changes and I truly believe that these are the first steps towards building the sport into a bigger and better one that we can all be proud to be part of.

“This is very much the start of the changes. I am well aware that the mid-tier member has been impacted by a membership rise and I fully appreciate that some single horse/rider members fall between the cracks. My key objective was to reduce the disparity in the membership cost per run that each member incurs. It was for this reason that the PAYG system is in place across all national levels.

“To give an indication, on average a Level III (Intermediate to Advanced) member runs 34 times a year, whilst a Level I (BE80,BE90) member runs 4-8 times and a Level II (BE100, BE105 and Novice) member runs 12 times a year. The new fee structure levels the playing field across the entire membership making it a much fairer membership run rate of around £10 for those at Level I and II, with those at Level III incurring a membership cost of circa £8 per run.

“Please bear with me as I hope to introduce further changes that will benefit the members who may feel that they have not benefited as much as others in this first round of changes.

“I am absolutely focused on doing everything I can to ensure that the sport is not only an enjoyable one to compete in but also a thriving one for show organisers and all the stakeholder groups that support the sport and keep the wheels turning. Once again, I would also like to reiterate that this is just the start of the changes. I am listening to the feedback from members and taking everything on board so that it can be considered during the ongoing reviews as we move the sport forward. As I said before, doing nothing just wasn’t an option and I am making the decisions that I am with the very best for the sport in mind.”


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