Excitement is building for the Paris 2024 Olympics this summer with the equestrian setting promising to impress, but horse lovers must get behind the action to ensure our sports remain in future Games, the Chief Executive of British Equestrian (BEF) has stressed.

The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games take place from 26 July-11 August and 28 August – 8 September. With less than five months until the 33rd Olympic Games begin, the BEF’s Jim Eyre shared his thoughts on this exciting time at the National Equine Forum on Thursday (7 March).

Equestrian disciplines will take place across the first 10 days, with eventing beginning on 27 July, followed by dressage and then jumping. Paralympic equestrian sport will follow from 3 September. Horse sport will take place in the Palace of Versailles, providing a striking backdrop to the sporting action.

“It will be incredible,” said Mr Eyre. “Equestrian will be in the Palace of Versailles and it will be totally stunning.”

His colleague Helen Nicholls, who spoke alongside Jim at the Forum, said that preparations for the site were on track, with seats already being installed in grandstands.

She also highlighted the beauty of the venue and described it as “spine-tinglingly good”.

‘Everyone needs to tune in’

Now their focus is on the difficult process of selecting the riders for the British squad, but future-proofing horse sport in the Games remains an ongoing concern.

“Our job is also to make sure we are on the map for LA and Brisbane [Olympic Games],” Mr Eyres said. “It’s always a tough fight with the International Olympic Committee you have to have high impact, short duration to attract your audiences.”

The financial and environmental concerns must also be considered, he said, as equestrian venues are one off, as well as protecting and promoting the social license of horse sport, ensuring equine welfare remains a high priority.

“It is vital that all equestrians get behind the Paris Games and watch as much coverage as possible if equestrian sports are to remain in the Olympics for future years,” Mr Eyres added.

“The viewing figures are all about eyeballs. It’s crucial everyone in our community turns on and tunes in.”

Jim Eyres joined the BEF as Chief Executive in April 2021. In his role, he is Secretary General to the European and International Federations and he also sits on the British Horse Council and National Equine Forum Organising Committee.