Professional and grass-roots eventers have expressed sadness that Longleat horse trials will not take place next year.

The event, which celebrated 25 years on Lord Bath’s estate this year, will move to the former venue of Frome Horse Trials, just six miles away, for 2012 and will be known as Nunney International.

Organiser Lt Col John Colson said the team had no option but to move after a change in management of the estate meant the dressage and showjumping arenas would have moved to an “unfeasible” part of the park next year.

The event also had to abandon some novice and intermediate classes earlier this year owing to heavy rain which meant the park became “ploughed up”.

Lt Col Colson said: “It is surprising that after 25 years of good relationships we were thrown out on our ears.”

Kitty King, who was first and second in the CIC** at this year’s event, said the venue was her favourite horse trials.

“Longleat is where I scored my first affiliated win,” she said. “The ground could be tricky, but it was a very educational course for horses.”

And H&H editor Lucy Higginson agreed: “Even if you were just taking part in the BE100, the setting made it feel like riding round Burghley.”

British Eventing (BE) helped find a new venue -Southfield House near Frome, the home of long-time equestrian supporter Angela Yeoman.

Chris Farr of BE said: “This provides an ideal chance to build on the success of Longleat and ensure we keep this level of competition in the West Country.”

The new cross-country course will be designed by Adrian Ditcham and the event will run on the same June dates as Longleat did.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (6 October, 2011)