Equestrianism: Princess releases reins

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THE PRINCESS ROYAL will stand down as president of the International Equestrian Federation, the FEI, next year. Recently the president of the German federation, Dieter Graf Landsberg- Velen, criticised the Princess for not devoting sufficient time to the role she took over from her father, the Duke of Edinburgh, eight years ago.

Yesterday's announcement, due to be made formally at the General Assembly of the FEI in Rio de Janeiro which begins tomorrow, said that the Princess 'had made up her mind some time ago'. The decision has been made 'for personal reasons', but the Princess, who represented Britain in the Olympic three-day event in 1976, will continue as a member of the International Olympic Committee and as president of the British Olympic Association.

Mary Thomson, who partnered King William to victory at Badminton but had a traumatic cross- country ride on him during the Olympic Games in Barcelona last year, received the Martini Trophy for eventing during a ceremony in London yesterday.

The awards, which cover seven equestrian categories, were decided as a result of votes cast by readers of the magazines, Horse and Rider and Pony.

MARTINI AWARDS: Showjumping: J Whitaker. Horse trials: M Thomson. Driving: G Bowman. Point-to-point: R Alner. Dressage: C Hester. Endurance riding: J Thomas. Showing: R Oliver. Scholarship: L Bulmer. Topic award: N Coupe.