Express Eventing is a radical new compact version of the sport of eventing, designed for arenas and stadiums around the world. It condenses all the drama and excitement of traditional three day eventing into just half a day, with the dressage, show jumping and cross-country phases visible from one seat.
Helped by expert commentaries, stadium audio visual technology and a simplified scoring system, spectators know exactly what each competitor needs to do to win. The aim of the highly concentrated format is to make the excitement of eventing accessible to a wider global audience and people unfamiliar with the sport.
The dressage phase consists of a pioneering freestyle programme, set to music, where horse and rider are judged not only on the degree of difficulty, but on their artistic interpretation.
Competitors then enter the combined jumping stage, a first in the eventing world. Once the last fence on the show jumping course is completed, a timed 'pit-stop' tack change enables preparation of horse and rider for the challenges of the ensuing indoor cross-country course.
Each year, riders must qualify to participate in the International Cup, which are to be rolled out as a series of Express Eventing competitions in UK and international sporting locations.
The brains behind the venture belong to equestrian enthusiast John Peace and former Australian international rider Stuart Buntine. The Express Eventing International Cup is being organised in association with British Eventing.
Stuart Buntine said: "Eventing is a lifelong passion of mine and one that I would like more people to experience and enjoy. It's an equestrian triathlon and arguably the ultimate test of the partnership between horse and rider.”
As well as encouraging more people into eventing, John and Stuart are determined that the event should give greater recognition to the sport's elite riders. The inaugural event, in 2008, offered an enormous pot of £250,000 prize money, with an unprecedented £100,000 for the winner – Oliver Townend riding Flint Curtis.
The Express Eventing International Cup was launched in November 2008 in the dramatic setting of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, and was won by Oliver Townend on Flint Curtis.