Riders, tradestands, sponsors, organisers and British Eventing (BE) were counting the cost of the 11th-hour cancellation of Blenheim last weekend.

All Blenheim spectators who bought tickets for Saturday, Sunday or season passes, should write to PO Box 321, Bicester, OX26 9BY, enclosing their tickets to claim their refunds. Unused programme vouchers, course buggy passes and Saturday and Sunday passes will be refunded in full. Season passes will have a representative proportion of their value refunded.

While ticket-holders, sponsors and tradestands will receive full or partial refunds, Blenheim’s abandonment could have a knock-on effect for BE finances. The event is one of two owned by the organisation, and while BE spokesman Liza Randall would not confirm how much revenue it brings in, it is likely to be substantial in a normal year.

“We are insured for these things,” she said, but admitted this year’s “unprecedented” weather will lead to a number of insurance claims.

“We need to meet with loss adjustors to find out what the damage is,” said Ms Randall. “There is a lot to unravel — tradestand and sponsor agreements, and so on.”

The cancellation also leaves many riders struggling to find a place at another CCI***. For many of Blenheim’s 84 starters, missing a run this autumn will have serious ramifications for the level at which they can compete next year.

Kreuth (Germany, 25-28 September) and Boekelo (Holland, 9-12 October) are the only remaining CCI***s in Europe this year.

“The riders were frustrated, but accepted the cancellation as the team had tried their damnedest to keep it going,” said Bill Levett, one of two rider representatives at Blenheim.
“But a lot of people aren’t now going to get their qualifications and for those who can go abroad, it’s going to be very expensive.”

www.blenheim-horse.co.uk

This story was first published in Horse & Hound (18 September, ’08)