LOCAL event riders have welcomed the news that prize money at May’s Badminton Horse Trials has been increased considerably on last year, writes NICKI STRONG.

The winner of the competition will receive £80,000, up from £65,000 in 2013, with prizemoney increases also reflected in the lower placings.

Highworth-based Aussie Paul Tapner, who won Badminton in 2010, was thrilled that cash prizes at the world-renowned four-star event had been upped.

He said: “Thanks and congrats to Hugh Thomas (director and course designer), Badminton Horse Trials and Mitsubishi Motors (sponsors) on this increase in prizemoney.

“It will obviously only benefit Badminton prize-winners in the short-term, but it clearly demonstrates that event organisers, BE (British Eventing), FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) and sponsors are starting to be on the same wavelength as the riders regarding prizemoney, which can only be good for eventing in the long term.”

Little Cheverell’s Lucinda Fredericks, like Tapner another former winner of the prestigious event, this time in 2007, also welcomed the news and she hopes that other events will follow suit.

“This is fantastic news for the sport and most importantly for owners who put the money into this wonderful equestrian sport,” said Fredericks.

“Everyone knows the prizemoney in eventing is very low and it’s tough for the riders to keep their owners.

“This will be a great incentive to attract more owners and sponsors to the sport. Let’s hope other events do follow in 2014.”

The announcement comes after a growing number of riders called for better prizemoney within British Eventing.

Sir Mark Todd, the four-time Badminton winner based at Badgerstown, highlighted the issue when tweeting about his potential financial losses at an event last year The main criticisms from riders have been that eventing offers poor rewards in relation to other equine sports, being expensive to enter while offering little gain to those who are successful.

British Eventing announced last year that they would be increasing prize money by three per cent for 2014.

However, the authority also revealed it would implement a three per cent increase in entry fees, attributed to the rising costs to event organisers.

Last year’s event at Badminton attracted record crowds and supporters were given a thrilling finish when newcomer Jock Paget took the honours at his first attempt.