In the worst conditions the event has seen in 10 years, Hickstead’s organisers moved Sunday’s classes from the main ring in an effort to save the ground for the DFS Derby, as other areas of the country were dealing with flood crises.

Only two of the 10 days of scheduled British Eventing-affiliated competition survived last weekend, with Eridge, Purston Manor, Nutwell Court and Rolleston being cancelled altogether. Aske lost one day.

The BSJA Area 15 show in Yorkshire, which was due to take place on 30 June-1 July, was cancelled and moved to 16-17 July.

During the wettest June on record, for which insurers are estimating a £1billion bill for damage pay-outs, the RSPCA went on “red alert”, issuing advice for animal owners after receiving calls about trapped horses near Scarborough and Hull.

Peter Hunt of the Bransby Home of Rest for Horses in Lincolnshire told H&H that, while rescuing the home’s 285 horses, ponies and donkeys was traumatic, his underlying concern was about this winter’s hay.

“It’s like gold dust. We haven’t made any yet and I think it’s going to be a problem around the country,” said Mr Hunt who, together with other staff at the home, worked through the night last Thursday to rescue Bransby’s equine residents after the River Till broke its banks.

“We moved them to higher ground or into barns. We have horses with strangles here, which was an added complication,” he said. “The fields are still under water. I’ve heard reports of sheep drowning in the area, but no horses, luckily.”

Find out about the experiences of other horse owners by reading this news story in full in Horse & Hound (5 July, ’07)