|Blenheim would be a poorer event without foreign competition|
I'm not talking about the superficial marketing spin we're fed of how great it is to compete against the William Fox-Pitts & Andrew Hoys of this world, because after a few times it's just a nuisance knowing that as an amateur you haven't hope in hell of beating him in a pre-novice or novice that's pretty inconsequential to the professionals, but I'm not going to complain about that.
Let me explain the reason for raising this subject again before discussing it once more. Tina Cook has a habit of bugging me with her current "patriotic" grumblings about foreigners in our midst. In this week's Horse and Hound she has once again decided to take a swipe at the foreign riders, suggesting we should limit the number of entries from foreign riders in UK events. Her reason: because some of the French events do. How balanced and well thought out!
Just like racing here in the UK, eventing fares well from a diverse range of courses. However like most things in sport there are a number of other mitigating variables to consider in understanding success. A large slice of this revolves around the UK residence of a large cross section of the global eventing community, and UK eventing is richer for it.
|Without foreign competition Pippa would win almost everything|
|William would win everything else | Someone call 911|
I also see no logic in allowing the BEF or BE to say who can and can't go and compete abroad, as no doubt they'll have team prospects as their priority, and that is misguided protectionism.
Competition can only ever be a good thing, protectionism eventually erodes the very thing it sets out to defend. Eventing as a sport would be a much poorer spectacle were it not for the likes of the UK based Kiwis, Aussies, French, Germans, Italians, Swedish, even Chinese, (OK, he's actually English not Chinese, but you get my point). Could you imagine Badminton with only a handful of non-Brits? Sounds like a Gymkhana to me!
Tina! Man up & Get Involved!
and before anyone rushes to support Tina's view think about all the foreign riders who we wouldn't see based in the UK, and the effect this would have on both the sport and the industry.
My other post: The Unofficial Cultural Exchange Programme