Cleobury Mortimer Horse Trials this weekend (30-31 May) has been cancelled due to “unsafe” ground conditions, after a visit by British Eventing (BE) officials.

A statement on the BE website says: “British Eventing and the organisers have agreed that ground conditions were unsafe, notwithstanding the plans to aerovate and water.”

BE chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith did not wish to be drawn on the cancellation, but he said that BE steward Michael Munden, technical adviser Dave Thompson and regional co-ordinator Chris Farr went to the site on Tuesday.

“That [the statement] is the outcome,” he said. “I haven’t been there, but I know they haven’t had any rain since Badminton Friday [four weeks ago tomorrow].”

Cleobury organiser Brian Perry said: “This is terribly disappointing. We had the agri-vator booked and planned to water the showjumping and start and finish fields, which are the two areas that get the worst, but the problem was further down the course.

“Horses go out there in the winter and there are lots of hoof marks, but I thought we’d be able to roll them out in April, as normal. But we’ve only had one day’s rain in the past two months. The ground is absolutely solid and a bit uneven on some of the undulating areas.

“I was fairly confident we’d be able to get it all right with the machines, but the BE officials didn’t think the agri-vator would be able to change it enough to make it safe for the horses. We’ve never had to use the agri-vator before, so the BE officials know better than me what it can do.”

Brian added that this cancellation is not covered by insurance, so the loss will hit the Perrys hard, but they have decided to carry on running BE events.

“Obviously we were extremely depressed yesterday [Wednesday] — we had a meeting at Stoneleigh with Mike and so on — but having thought about it overnight we’ve decided to run in September [4-6],” he said.

Competitors will receive a full refund on their entry fees and do not need to do anything — Brian says hopefully all riders will be reimbursed “within a couple of weeks”.

Other events reopen entries

Several other events have tried to help riders who were entered at Cleobury Mortimer.

This weekend’s Pontispool Horse Trials reopened some classes for a few days earlier in the week — entries there have now closed again — and three other events are taking entries again:

Entries will not be transferred; a new entry is needed. But all of the events listed above are waiving the late entry surcharge (normally £10).

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