Sunday, 26 January 2014

BUCS Banishing Britain?

This week has seen the controversial decision made to not send a British team to the World University Equestrian Championships ran by BUCS. This decision reflects the lack of support and funding given to university equine sports teams over other sports played within the BUCS university leagues. As a competing university, the topic has lead to many discussions between DMU Equestrian rider's as to the negative impact this has on not only university competitors, but Britain as a leading country in equestrian sport currently in the world.

BUCS, The British University and
Colleges Sport.
The World University Championships are ran in the same format of BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport) format league competitions across the UK. Britain has decided to not send a team this year on the basis that the style of competition does not help to positively develop the most elite young rider's who train for Team GB. The event was to occur in March in Abu Dhabi, where rider's are given an unknown horse supplied by the venue, with 10 minutes to warm up before doing a dressage test and show jumping round, the same display as in the BUCS league matches. The final round consists of a Prix St George standard dressage test and a 1.30m show jumping round.

Previous British winners in the BUCS world title includes top event rider, William Fox- Pitt who won the show jumping phase in the world championships. His reaction to the news Britain was not sending a team was that it was a "huge shame" as a rider who fully supports the university BUCS competitions and the positive development of young British rider's.

Team GB have had huge success
since the 2012 London Olympics
BUCS have stated that the competitions do not help improve the Olympic rider's in training and the competition does not fit in with their young rider development programme, hence the decision to abstain from sending a team. The lack of funding for university sport is reflected in this decision as sending a team would be costly, but Britain have already proved they are more than capable of bringing home the gold with a successful previous record at the BUCS worlds with at least one medal every event since 1997.

The format of the BUCS competitions is a controversial one, but it allows rider's to compete who may not necessarily be able to finance their own horse and encourages them to adapt to any situation by riding a variety of different horses. This is a huge shame pulling Britain out especially due to the recent success by Charlotte Dujardin and her world record at Olympia in December 2013 and Scott Brash becoming world number one for show jumping.

Jenny Walker, Chairperson for De Montfort Equestrian Society had this to say about the drastic decision not to send a team;

"It's a huge shame that we won't have a BUCS team to represent our country in the World Equestrian Championships this year. It's especially disappointing considering how much Britain is succeeding in all aspects of Equestrian disciplines, including lots of medals at the 2012 Olympics and recent world records set by Charlotte Dujardin. I have seen some of the BUCS young rider talent in our region alone and the standard is very high, which is know is reflected in BUCS leagues across the country. This is a huge step backwards in the world of student equestrian sport and hopefully we will gain a well deserved place at next year's championships and BUCS will alter their decision not to send a team."

The impact of this decision by BUCS is one that will have a knock on effect on the number of rider's who choose to participate in university equine activity due to the lack of support and closure of opportunities such as the world championships for them to take part in.

Let us know what you think via Twitter @DMUEquestrian or Facebook 'DMU Equestrian Society'

Remember to keep voting in the ESMA Awards 2014 for DMU Equestrian, Section 14: 'BEST BLOG' and help counteract this negative impact on university equine sport and get behind the fight for British success!


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