Rating Manual section 6 part 3: valuation of all property classes

Section 373: eventing courses

This publication is intended for Valuation Officers. It may contain links to internal resources that are not available through this version.

1. Market Appraisal

Eventing (sometimes referred to as horse trials) is a sport that comprehensively tests the all-round ability of both horse and rider. Originally devised as a form of competition for cavalry horses, it draws on the requirements for a top-class officer’s charger: obedience, agility, suppleness, stamina and boldness across country.

These traits are demonstrated in the skill and precision needed for dressage and show-jumping and the flair and courage needed to negotiate the solid, fixed obstacles of a cross-country course.

A top level “Three Day Event” (which probably actually takes place over four days, to provide sufficient time for the dressage element) will be made up of the following tests:

Dressage -

Each movement is designed to test calmness and precision. This is not easy with a fit horse, bursting with energy.

Cross Country -

This originally comprised 4 distinct, but continuous phases:

Phase A - Roads and tracks (3,300 - 4,500 metres)

Phase B - Steeplechase (2,070 – 2,415m + 8 - 12 fences)

Phase C - Roads and Tracks (6,500 - 9,000m)

(Horse inspection)

Phase D - Cross-country obstacles (4,500 – 5,500m + 25 - 30 fences) but following FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) recommendations most events only now run Phase D even at the highest level.

Jumping -

A show-jumping format, in an arena.

However most of the eventing that takes place in the UK is of a more modest standard and is usually confined to one day competitions (“One Day Events”). Whilst retaining the three main tests, they are taken in the order dressage, show jumping and cross-country, with the latter omitting the roads and tracks and steeplechase phases. During a season (spring to early autumn), there may be in the order of 180 such One Day Events across England and Wales, in contrast to barely a handful of Three Day Events. The two largest events in the UK both televised on national television being Badminton (May) and Burghley (September).

2. Changes From the Last Practice Note

There are no changes from the broad principles followed for the 2010 Rating Lists and the approach therefore remains the same.

3. Ratepayer Discussions

None at present.

4. Valuation Scheme

As a matter of pragmatism, if full accounts are not available, the valuer may need to resort to adopting a percentage of gross receipts for the event. Bearing in mind that income levels fluctuate and are very speculative, the percentage to be adopted should be towards the lower end of the Leisure Attractions spectrum, in the 4% to 7% range. Where possible comparison should be made with other courses in both estimating receipts and percentages, but also the number of spectators/ participants and the number of days on which events are held.

See the valuation guidance within ‘RM : S6 : Pt3 : S1085 : Leisure Attractions: Practice Note 1 : 2017

Practice Note 1: 2010: Eventing Courses

1. Co-ordination Arrangements

Eventing Courses are a Group co-ordination class and as such responsibility for ensuring that the appropriate co-ordination takes place lies with individual Groups. As there is probably no useful rental evidence for this class, it is important that Groups co-ordinate across boundaries, using fully the procedures described in RM Section 6: Part 1 and Practice Note 1 Revaluation 2010.

Special Category Code (SCAT) 214 should be used. As a Group Class the appropriate suffix letter should be G.

In the unlikely event that an eventing course has a rateable value over £25000, they will fall to be dealt with by Specialist Rating Unit -Team 2 Leisure and Licensed Property.

2. Valuation Guidance

As indicated in the main Section, valuations should be based on a Receipts & Expenditure approach. When considering the accounts for a horse trial event, great care should be taken to ensure that the receipts being considered do only relate to the specific undertaking being considered.

As a matter of pragmatism, if full accounts are not available, the caseworker may need to resort to adopting a percentage of gross receipts for the event. Bearing in mind that income levels fluctuate and are very speculative, the percentage to be adopted should be towards the lower end of the Tourist Attractions spectrum, in the 4% to 7% range. Where possible comparison should be made with other courses in both estimating receipts and percentages, but also the number of spectators/ participants and the number of days on which events are held.

3. IT Support

The development a new facility on the Non Bulk Server (NBS) should enable input of factual data to achieve valuations that follow the recommended approach for this type of leisure attraction. All valuations should be entered onto the NBS under the relevant Scat Code.

Practice Note 1 : 2005 : Eventing Courses

1. Co-ordination Arrangements

This is a Group Class; Co-ordination responsibilities are set out in Rating Manual section 6 part 1.

Special Category Code (SCAT) 214 should be used. As a Group Class the appropriate suffix letter should be G.

In the unlikely event that an eventing course has a rateable value over £25000, they will fall to be dealt with by Specialist Rating Unit Team 2 Licensed and Leisure.

2. Valuation Guidance

As indicated in the main Section, valuations should be based on the Receipts & Expenditure method. When considering the accounts for a horse trial event, great care should be taken to ensure that the receipts being considered do only relate to the specific undertaking being considered.

It is vital to ensure that the accounts reflect the reality of the operations. In this respect, it is possible, for example, that timber for the construction of the jumps, together with the labour to erect them, has come from the estate and these costs may not show in the accounts. Similarly, most events rely hugely on volunteer labour and the treatment of this resource also needs to be correctly reflected in the analysis of the accounts. In this respect, some guidance may be derived from the LT decision in Bluebell Railway Ltd v Ball (VO) [1984] RA 113.

A peculiarity that should also be borne in mind is that the sport provides no subsidy for set-up costs to organisers of horse trials. Indeed, such an organiser has to pay the sports governing body for the privilege of hosting a competition for its members!

Moreover, rider expectations are becoming increasingly sophisticated and they call for (but, obviously, do not always get) courses as well presented as Badminton for even the lowest grades of competition.

Against this background, it will come as no surprise that most horse trials barely break even. An example of a typical case study, published in February 2003, is set out in Appendix 1 to this Practice Note. Commonly, it is only the sponsor’s input that prevents an event making a loss.

That said, bearing in mind that the hereditament is in all likelihood the park attached to a mansion house, if there are other uses throughout the year, then these too should be considered in the valuation process.

As a matter of pragmatism, if full accounts are not available, the caseworker may need to resort to adopting a percentage of gross receipts for the event. Bearing in mind that income levels fluctuate and are very speculative, the percentage to be adopted should be towards the lower end of the Tourist Attractions spectrum, in the 4% to 7% range. Where possible comparison should be made with other courses in both estimating receipts and percentages, but also the number of spectators/ participants and the number of days on which events are held.

Practice Note 1 : 2005 : Appendix 1 : Eventing Courses

Case study published February 2003, for a typical British Eventing (the sport’s controlling body) affiliated horse trial, at the lower end of the competitive spectrum, with pre-Novice and Novice sections.

Income: £ Expenditure: £
Entry Fees 13,489 BE Levy 2,281
Sponsorship 3,450 Admin,’phone, postage 947
Sportmatch Grant 1,500 Catering 1,294
Stabling Fees 255 Medical & Vet cover 2,100
Other 109 PA 2,027
Prize Money 1,854
TOTAL 18,803 Toilets 200
X-Country depreciation* 2,440
Other** 5,577
TOTAL 18,720
Less Expenditure 18,720
PROFIT 83
  • The course set-up costs were £20,000 in 2002. These costs have been set off over 8 years (approximately).

** This is not specified. However, as background, it was reported that:

– 300 man-hours went on fence building and setting up the arenas.

– 900 letters were put in envelopes

– 600 man-hours of voluntary labour used on the day

Additionally, British Eventing has made a “pump-priming” loan of £3,500 and the organiser has made a personal loan of £5,000 to the Event.

NB: The information in this example is derived from published material and not the actual accounts themselves. It is accepted that there are unexplained discrepancies in this study, but these do not detract from the overall point being made, viz that one-day event horse trials are in the main not highly profitable.