An eventing centre in Cambridgeshire will not be running any more unaffiliated events following “rude and upsetting comments” from competitors after an event was postponed.
Ely Eventing Centre told competitors on Facebook this week (11 October) “unfortunately the disappointing behaviour by some competitors at the event earlier in the year has lead us to this position”.
The centre in Little Downham normally runs two unaffiliated hunter trials every year, in April and October.
This year the spring hunter trial on 16 April was being run as a qualifier for the arena eventing finals at Blenheim (8-9 September).
But following heavy overnight rain on 14 April and the forecast of a wet weekend, the decision was made the day before the event to postpone it until the following weekend.
The centre’s owner Tina Ure told competitors she was trying to rearrange the event for 23 April and all entries would be refunded or carried forward if requested.
“We pushed back one week to preserve the ground,” said the centre’s press officer Sarah Skillin.
The event ran as normal a week later with the same schedule and times.
The majority of the 150 competitors entered could make the new date, but there were some who could not go, as it clashed with Solihull Riding Club’s British Eventing competition.
“Refunds were offered providing they were requested before the new date. There was no intention of not refunding people,” said Miss Skillin.
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“The crux was really there were so many people who were rude to Tina and not understanding and patient. We’ve had more grief linked to running an unaffiliated hunter trial in April than running eight days of affiliated competitions this year,” she told H&H.
Riders have voiced their disappointment on social media with one saying it is “such a shame the minority have to ruin it for everyone else”.
“There have been a lot of very understanding comments saying it is such a shame that a few bad eggs spoil it for everyone else,” added Miss Skillin. “Others say why can’t you ban them, but after you’ve had a few people treating you like that you do think ‘is it worth it?’”