Cleobury Mortimer has cancelled its British Eventing (BE) fixture in September this year and will not run affiliated horse trials next year.
The event on the Shropshire/Worcestershire borders has run BE events for 17 years, but ran into trouble earlier this year when BE officials deemed the ground unsafe the week before the May fixture and the event had to cancel.
The cancellation of this year’s second fixture (4-6 September) is due to the fact Cleobury organiser Brian Perry could not get a BE silver-listed course-builder, a requirement for all BE intermediate events which is laid out in the rulebook (rule 3.4).
“Our course-builder’s listing had lapsed and it was only after the May event was cancelled that they decided we had to have a silver-listed course-builder,” said organiser Brian Perry, who says BE also wanted the course finished by the end of July.
“I literally rang everyone on the list, but no silver-listed course-builders could come at such short notice.”
BE regional director Chris Farr confirmed that Brian had been unable to secure the services of a listed builder, but said that this requirement should not have come as a surprise to Brian.
“Brian is an experienced organiser and a listed course-designer,” said Chris. “This is a BE requirement for every event to ensure we have the highest standards across the board. Brian’s decision to cancel his event is understandable, albeit sad.”
BE chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith said: “They decided to cancel the event — we wanted the event to run. But as with any event, we needed to make sure the ‘terms and conditions’ of running a BE event are complied with and having a silver-listed course-builder for intermediate is one of the things that sets us apart from unaffiliated. We are proud of our standards and we don’t think they are too demanding.”
Brian plans to run an unaffiliated fixture at Cleobury on 6 September, with BE90, BE100 and novice classes, and to continue running unaffiliated events next year.
British Eventing has arranged a replacement fixture at Llanymynech (4-5 September) with classes from BE90 to novice. The Shropshire event normally runs in June and this will be the first time the venue has run a second time in the autumn.
“We are very fortunate the organisers at Llanymynech agreed to step in and help with the lower level classes,” said Chris Farr. “This shows we have a small amount of flexibility in the calendar. The team there have seven weeks to get organised and were confident they could do it.”
Chris said that the existing calendar can accommodate intermediate competitors who planned to run at Cleobury: Pontispool the weekend after Cleobury’s planned date had capacity to take more entries last year, Highclere the weekend before is running an extra day this time and there is a new intermediate fixture at Somerford two weeks earlier.