Horse Trials Survey results and analysis

Cumbria Horse Trials Feb 2021 Horse Trials Survey.

We’re pleased to provide the following update to our recent survey.

Survey launched 1st Feb.  Closed 11th Feb. 150 actual responses, 140 fully completed responses.  All verified as unique.

A Likert scale ranking 1-5 was used along with narrative boxes to provide respondents an opportunity to make written responses.  All responses were confidential, and no names or personal data was collected.

This survey attempted to establish current attitudes to Horse Trials in Great Britain but focuses on the Northern and Scottish Region of British Eventing membership. It did not attempt to specifically ask British Eventing members for their views.

The survey was published and promoted to Cumbria Horse Trials (CHT) Facebook followers which is a broad range of persons numbering 7500 which follow unaffiliated as well as affiliated eventing and, the  Facebook group Eventing Scotland Plus with 1700 persons who are mainly affiliated followers.  It was thought this broad range would inform better than specifically targeting BE members and therefore encompass persons past and potential to the sport. To that end it was as much a horse trials community project as market research for CHT.  It does not provide any basis for either CHT, BE or other sporting interest group to alter their existing strategies within the sport.

The 20 questions included in the survey ranged from allowing respondents to express their desire for change within the sport, the timing of any change, the affordability, accessibility and reliability of the sport.  It also included questions over the technical difficulty, classification of riders, their preferential treatment, the prizes and rewards for competing, the reliability of the sport, its administration and reporting through web media, UK governance and pricing. It lastly asked respondents to indicate their likelihood of remaining (Q20) associated in the sport.

It is important to note that from the outset, CHT believed that from previous experience when asking horse trials followers to express opinion on their sport, they would naturally comment it should be cheaper, with more events and better prizes!  Given lockdown and knowing horse trials competitors are loyal to their sport however, the degree to which they would continue to compete, wish for immediate changes or accept any changes to rider classifications was unclear.  Similarly, it was unknown to what extent respondents would be accepting of the sport’s inherent vulnerability to the weather.

The results described below are both general and specific with percentages shown of those respondents Completely Agreeing, Agreeing, No Opinion, Disagreeing or Completely Disagreeing with the each of the question/statements.

 General Summary.

Responses to Q20 indicated 80% of respondents agreed or completely agreed they saw a future in the sport for them.  This would indicate respondents were fundamentally committed to their sport, and this helped understand all other responses by indicating a generally a positive attitude to the future of the sport.

Where respondents were less than happy was with the affordability and accessibility of the sport, and this was illustrated with comments indicating the cost to enter, travel to and the choice of competing opportunities within the relatively large region  where most respondents reside.

Opinion was divided between identifying those competing professionally and amateurs.  There was strong sentiment not to give preference to newcomers to the sport.  Just over half respondents wished to see the XC phase exert more influence, with many wishing to keep the traditional scoring system in operation. Very few wished for entries to be available more than 3 months before a competition date (15%), and while 46% wished for assurance over ground conditions there was acceptance of the British weather’s unpredictability and organiser’s best intentions.

Prizes money and prizes were thought as important as points and many expressed the wish to take home something by way of a reward, but no specific mention was made of any formula for calculating this system. 39% of respondents would be happy with any other entry platform but this was balanced by comment that a single system that worked was equally appropriate for the sport.  Similarly, if there was a single Equestrian Membership package covering the main disciplines this would be welcomed but dependant on price.

The digital recording and public display on a web-based platform was not welcome by just 10% of respondents.

47% wished to keep to standard pricing for class levels but, there was some comment indicating confusion, with respondents unclear that such a system already exists, and the perception that different prices are encountered across horse trials.  This may be caused by the wider audience of unaffiliated competitors as well as affiliated competitors.

63% wished for a difference between the unaffiliated and affiliated events. 75% agreed UK Sport codes were important.

Across the 20 questions some 27% of responses on average were of No Opinion.

The most strongly held views were 50% completely agreeing over the sport’s affordability yet 54% also completely agreed with staying with the sport.

Quantitative summary

Q1. Do you believe the sport of horse trials needs to change?

1* – Completely Disagree 8%
2* – Disagree 19%
3* – No opinion 38%
4* – Agree 24%
5* – Completely Agree 11%
100%

Q2. Do you believe now is a good time for change?

1* – Completely Disagree 7%
2* – Disagree 13%
3* – No opinion 27%
4* – Agree 29%
5* – Completely Agree 24%
100%

 

Q3. Do you believe horse trials should become more financially affordable?

1* – Completely Disagree 4%
2* – Disagree 9%
3* – No opinion 14%
4* – Agree 23%
5* – Completely Agree 50%
100%

Q4. Do you believe horse trials should become more reliable in terms of ground conditions?

1* – Completely Disagree 8%
2* – Disagree 8%
3* – No opinion 42%
4* – Agree 24%
5* – Completely Agree 18%
100%

Q5. Do you believe horse trials should become more geographically accessible?

1* – Completely Disagree 8%
2* – Disagree 8%
3* – No opinion 20%
4* – Agree 26%
5* – Completely Agree 38%
100%

Q6. Do you believe the sport should differentiate between Amateur and Professional riders?

1* – Completely Disagree 22%
2* – Disagree 13%
3* – No opinion 22%
4* – Agree 15%
5* – Completely Agree 28%
100%

Q7. Do you believe the sport should prioritise riders new to the sport?

1* – Completely Disagree 37%
2* – Disagree 28%
3* – No opinion 22%
4* – Agree 8%
5* – Completely Agree 5%
100%

Q8. Do you believe the cross-country phase should exert a greater influence on the competition?

1* – Completely Disagree 10%
2* – Disagree 18%
3* – No opinion 19%
4* – Agree 27%
5* – Completely Agree 26%
100%

Q9. Do you believe the competition should be scored on a positive percentage scale rather than negative penalties?

1* – Completely Disagree 31%
2* – Disagree 17%
3* – No opinion 38%
4* – Agree 4%
5* – Completely Agree 10%
100%

Q10. Do you believe entries could be nominated and reserved at least 3 months in advance?

1* – Completely Disagree 38%
2* – Disagree 22%
3* – No opinion 25%
4* – Agree 9%
5* – Completely Agree 6%
100%

 

 

Q11. Do you believe it is important events must offer proven assurance of good going for an upcoming event?

1* – Completely Disagree 9%
2* – Disagree 12%
3* – No opinion 33%
4* – Agree 28%
5* – Completely Agree 18%
100%

Q12. Do you believe prizes (cash or kind) are equally as important as gaining points and awards?

1* – Completely Disagree 6%
2* – Disagree 9%
3* – No opinion 18%
4* – Agree 31%
5* – Completely Agree 36%
100%

Q13. Do you believe it is for someone else (i.e. an organisation) to keep a record of your performances?

1* – Completely Disagree 4%
2* – Disagree 11%
3* – No opinion 32%
4* – Agree 33%
5* – Completely Agree 20%
100%

Q14. Do you believe any one of a number of web-based entry platforms could take your entry for an event?

1* – Completely Disagree 12%
2* – Disagree 13%
3* – No opinion 36%
4* – Agree 20%
5* – Completely Agree 19%
100%

Q15. Do you believe a one stop horse & rider membership covering any equestrian discipline in the UK would be beneficial to you?

1* – Completely Disagree 12%
2* – Disagree 12%
3* – No opinion 25%
4* – Agree 27%
5* – Completely Agree 24%
100%

Q16. Do you believe seeing your performance stats, results, rewards and qualifications instantly, digitally and publicly is important?

1* – Completely Disagree 2%
2* – Disagree 8%
3* – No opinion 27%
4* – Agree 27%
5* – Completely Agree 36%
100%

Q17. Do you believe there should be a standard class price to enter any event?

1* – Completely Disagree 8%
2* – Disagree 10%
3* – No opinion 35%
4* – Agree 28%
5* – Completely Agree 19%
100%

Q18. Do you believe the affiliated sport should clearly differentiate itself from unaffiliated competitions?

1* – Completely Disagree 4%
2* – Disagree 8%
3* – No opinion 25%
4* – Agree 32%
5* – Completely Agree 31%
100%

 

Q19. Is it important to know the sport is run under UK Sport codes of good governance?

1* – Completely Disagree 2%
2* – Disagree 4%
3* – No opinion 19%
4* – Agree 37%
5* – Completely Agree 38%
100%

Q20. Do you believe the sport is for you in the future?

1* – Completely Disagree 2%
2* – Disagree 2%
3* – No opinion 17%
4* – Agree 25%
5* – Completely Agree 54%
100%

 

Huge thanks to all those who took part in the survey and for giving their time to complete so many questions.

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