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Royal Windsor Horse Show loses elite status for 2020

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has expressed ‘extreme regret’ after an administrative error caused the Royal Windsor Horse Show to lose its prestigious five-star rating for 2020.

Taking place every May in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, the Royal Windsor Horse Show (RWHS) is one of the most important events in the Royal calendar and is a known favourite with the Queen, who has attended annually since 1943.

A late submission to the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) meant the BEF missed the September 2018 deadline to be considered for FEI five-star consideration.

Once the error was identified, the BEF attempted to amend the mistake but was ‘rejected by the two show organisers, who are also running top-level shows on the same date (La Baule, France, and Madrid)’.

The blunder means the show will miss out on hosting the most elite level of showjumping competition next year.

It has instead been put forward for both a three-star and four-star classification, which has been approved.

Matt Williams, head of communications at BEF, said in a statement: “The BEF has been in discussions with show director of Royal Windsor Horse Show, Simon Brooks-Ward, since the issue came to light, and the entire BEF board offers its extreme regret and apologies for its error, which it is well aware will have a significant impact on both Royal Windsor Horse Show and the sport as a whole.

“The BEF board would also like to publicly acknowledge and thank Simon Brooks-Ward for his professionalism and pragmatic approach to finding the best solution going forward.”

Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle) said: “It’s a huge shame as the five-star classification is a big part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, but it is still a fantastic show and I’m sure residents will go regardless as it is a big event in the Windsor calendar.”

The BEF also announced a new process to ensure this error will not happen again.

A RWHS spokesman said: “We have nothing to add at this time.”

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