Organisers have apologised after a number of competitors were unable to run across country at a British Eventing competition due to failing light.

Two novice classes at Poplar Park on 11 March were abandoned part-way though with a total of 15 cross-country rounds still to run.

Of these, 11 were in the open novice section and four in the novice class.

The entry fee for all these competitors was £92.01, plus a £15 start fee. While those who were unable to run across country will receive their money back for their entries, they will not be given a refund for their start fees.

“We would like to apologise to all those competitors who failed to get a run and to assure them that they will receive a refund of their entry fees,” organisers Jim and Bo Hardwick said in a statement to H&H.

“There were a variety of factors, including the weather, that led to this issue and the team are investigating and hope to avoid any similar occurrence in the future.

“We do not consider that the light was inadequate or unsafe at any time during the running of the cross-country.

“[Although the venue was] under six inches of snow a week earlier, our team worked tirelessly in some very wet weather to put on two excellent days of competition in near-perfect going.”

British Eventing (BE) has rules as to how many horses can run in a day, which vary depending on the time of year and number of cross-country course changes, and these were followed.

Poplar had 233 entries for the Sunday, which was within BE’s rules of a maximum of 258 starters per day for events running before the start of British summer time with up to two course changes.

The final horse had been due to start the cross-country phase at 5.32pm, with sunset that day at 5.57pm.

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“Despite best efforts by the organising team and officials there were a number of competitors who were unable to go cross country due to the failing light,” BE sport manager Debbie Pritchard told H&H.

“There were variety of factors, including the weather, that led to this issue which we are investigating and we hope to avoid this situation in the future.

“All competitors who were restricted from running cross-country will receive a refund of their entry fee.”

Other competitors had praised the team for managing to go ahead despite the difficult weather conditions in the run-up to the event.

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