Equestrianism: Land Rover to withdraw sponsorship

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The Independent Online
Equestrian sport has lost a second major sponsor with yesterday's news that Land Rover will not be renewing its contract for the World Three- Day Event Rider Rankings when it expires at the end of December.

Earlier this year Volvo, by far the most generous sponsor that the horse world has ever had, said that they would not continue to support the world cups for show jumping and dressage after their contract ends in the spring of 1998. All three equestrian disciplines - eventing, show jumping and dressage - could therefore be feeling the pinch next year.

Volvo have contributed around pounds 4m a year and it will be hard to find such riches elsewhere. Land Rover's sponsorship was pounds 250,000 a year but this, too, will be difficult to replace. The total Land Rover input will have amounted to pounds 1.5m over the six years since they introduced the rankings on a global basis, making their presence felt in more than 20 countries.

According to The Infanta Dona Pilar de Borbon, president of the International Equestrian Federation, the rankings will carry on "well into the future''. It remains to be seen whether they can continue on the same scale, with prize-money amounting to pounds 95,000 for one global and seven zonal categories.