There’s already been related equine articles to the upcoming Scottish Independence Referendum on September 18th, but I thought I’d share some questions me, myself and I have been debating (however, we never seem to get very far!).
We’re English and live in England so we will have no say or choice on the vote. To be fair I don’t really know a lot on the subject either so by no means is this a factual blog, but I’ll share some of my thoughts on the matter if Scotland was to part with Britain and how that could affect equestrians.
They’re all questions that may already have answers to them, but sometimes it’s just nice to write down your own concerns and get things off your chest!
If Scotland does split it would be interesting to see how affiliate equine bodies run. Currently most like British Eventing, British Show jumping and British Dressage are run in England. Many have already questioned if Scotland could viably continue to run as part of British Eventing and how it will affect Scottish riders’ nationality and GB squad selection. It is a worrying thought in relation to how it could change the equestrian community that I currently know and understand.
Would rules become different? If I competed in Scotland would my result not be viable/ accredited towards a qualification for a championship held in England? Would I be able to compete in Scottish and English Championships if I qualified for them? Would I be required to show my passport at events? Questions like this spiral in my head, I’m very much a person who questions the new and unknown and it does worry me.
Would riders be put off competing at the thought of having to pay two separate memberships (one for Scotland and one for England/ Britain)?
Personally, I probably would. Like I’ve previously said I live in England but in the North East. Yes I am lucky that there are grassroot level events close by but we normally travel. We have previously always chosen competitions in Scotland as it only takes 3 hours, the same amount of time it would take us to get to more central England, like Leicestershire. So our preference has been to go up North. We love the hospitality – everyone always seems to be smiling and the courses often tend to be traditional, old fashioned attacking courses on beautiful estates which I adore!
But if I were to have to pay for an additional membership just to allow myself and my one horse to compete in Scotland in say 2 events during the year (as we have others in England I could participate in), I’m not sure I’d be willing to do so, and I do wonder if other English amateurs would too.
English riders living near the border may be in more of a predicament. As some Scottish Events may be nearer to them than English events. Will we lose some of our riders, trainers and instructors due to finding that less events are viable in the region? Therefore will standards drop in some regions? Without the top class riders and trainers will equestrian discipline see a drop in Scotland or even some English regions if people find it more viable to compete and make money in the south?
It’s not only afflicted bodies that may have issues with a separation. My own Riding Club Area tends to partner up with a Scottish area to cut down costs on running qualifiers and events during the year. Without a partnership costs will probably go up. They may have the option of partnering with another English Area but then would travel expenses become too high for the average amateur just trying to have a bit of fun?
What would be the future for Scottish International Horse Trials? In the CIC3* being held this weekend at Hopetoun only 3 of the 25 entrants are rode by riders who are registered under British Eventing as riders who currently live in Scotland. You’d then question would Scottish Events be feasible at higher levels but without them would Scottish youth be disadvantaged in progressing up the grades as they lack opportunities to experience bigger events without traveling?
Riders may be willing if hunting FEI points or qualifications but will the events be able to run in the first place financially?
On the positive side for Scottish riders, would an independent Scotland provide more money to riders of all levels and abilities? Would more championships be held in Scotland making them more accessible to them? Could Rankings of Scottish riders improve if competition is controlled and held in a more dense region?
Like I said earlier these are just my thoughts and the answers may be out there but currently I haven’t seen them all in one place yet, they might be, but equally they might not be.
However I guess until Thursday 18th September we’ll just have to keep guessing and will have to carry on as normal and enjoy what we do.