The championships, which will take place 7 – 12 August 2018, will feature some of Europe’s most promising equestrian athletes competing across the three core disciplines of dressage, showjumping and eventing.
Supported by the British Equestrian Federation, British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping, and following the College’s successful delivery of the European Championships in 2010 and 2014, the College‘s bid was chosen as the UK bid to be put forward to the FEI.
Jeanette Dawson OBE, Chief Executive and Principal of Bishop Burton College said; “We are delighted to once again host such a prestigious equestrian championships.
“Since 2010, when we last hosted the FEI European Pony Championships, we have invested heavily in our facilities, making them, we believe, the best available equestrian facilities across all disciplines. We are immensely proud of our status as a Centre of Vocational Excellence in equine, and being awarded this event is a wonderful acknowledgement of that.”
She added; “To be awarded this event is a major achievement for our equestrian team and one which places Bishop Burton College, and the north of England as a whole, firmly in the international equestrian spotlight.”
The College has previously played host to a range of international events, including the FEI Pony Championships in 2010, and the FEI European Junior Eventing Championships in 2014, as well as the FEI CPEDI Para Dressage Championships every year since 2011.
Since 2008, the College has invested millions in state-of-the-art equestrian facilities and now boasts three indoor arenas, including the Olympic-standard ‘Bishop Burton Arena’, four outdoor arenas; 80 hectares of parkland used for cross country, and a six kilometre hacking and training track that meanders its way around the College farmland. The campus also features a world class equestrian therapy and rehabilitation suite, including water treadmill and spa, and of course residential accommodation for 450 people and permanent stabling for 120 horses.
Clare Salmon, Chief Executive at the British Equestrian Federation said: “I am thrilled that Bishop Burton College has been awarded the FEI Pony European Championships in 2018. It has been a pleasure to work with the team at the College to secure the Championships and I look forward to welcoming the European athletes to our country next year.”
She added; “An event like this requires the support and involvement of all major governing bodies, so I look forward to working with my colleagues at British Dressage, British Showjumping and British Eventing and showing the international equestrian world what we’re capable of.”
The Pony European Championships were last held in the UK in 2010, at Bishop Burton College, where the British eventing team rode to victory to secure the team gold in front of a home crowd. The team mates, comprising Grace Walker, Sophie Beaty, Sam Ecroyd and Alfie Bradstock have since gone on to become some of the most promising equestrian eventing athletes in the country.
Iain Graham, British Showjumping Chief Executive, added “We are delighted to know that we will have the Pony European Championships back in the UK and are extremely grateful to Bishop Burton for putting themselves forward to host them.
“To give our younger riders the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd is superb and we hope, as current Individual Gold and Team Bronze medal holders, that we are able to inspire those attending as spectators by delivering medals for Great Britain across our tremendous depth of talented pony riders.”
The bid was supported by all three Olympic equestrian bodies in the UK, including British Dressage. On the College’s success, Chief Executive Jason Brautigam said; “This bid has been a great example of collaboration between the BEF, the three Olympic disciplines and Bishop Burton College – and to be successful is just reward for the hard work put in by everyone. Having a major international Championship in Britain gives the riders is a fantastic chance to compete on home soil, as well as giving UK fans the chance to show their support for our U21 teams.
“Bishop Burton’s track record as a venue speaks for itself and we look forward to working with their team to make it a memorable Championship for all competitors and visitors.”
As part of the competition, riders will be expected to compete in the three Eventing phases including cross country, which will sit on the college’s 80 hectare parkland and test riders with its mix of flat, woodland and water combinations.
On the announcement David Holmes, British Eventing Chief Executive said; “This is indeed great news and Bishop Burton will no doubt do a fantastic job in hosting the Pony Europeans again, building on their experience from the previous time they hosted in 2010 along with the FEI Junior Europeans in 2014, and benefiting from the great work that they have been doing over the last few years in further developing their facilities.
“Hosting such a championship in the UK has a significant impact not only on performance outcomes - due in part to the fantastic support of eventing fans in Britain - but also on the greater legacy that it creates for the sport.”