Credit crunch and bad weather hit horse trials

  • Organisers of four British Eventing (BE) fixtures have called time this season and other events are in doubt for 2010 due to the credit crunch and poor weather.

    Cancellations are down overall — 18 so far as opposed to 31 last year — but organisers are reporting financial trouble.

    BE sports manager (development) Paul Graham said: “Finances are tight and if events can’t get financial assistance they are not going to be able to continue.

    “But we will do everything we can to support events.”

    Aly Boswell, who runs Auchinleck in Ayrshire, said: “We’ve cancelled three years running and will not be able to go ahead if we can’t change the date on which we run.”

    The event is scheduled for the last Saturday in every July but she said a silage crop taken then leaves the ground compacted.

    Competitors are not prepared to enter an event that is always cancelled, she said.

    BE Scotland’s regional director Iain Graham hopes to find a new date for the event.

    The financial climate has played a part in the cancellation of five horse trials this year, including Spring Hill in Gloucestershire (31 August).

    Organiser Nancy Blinkhorn said: “Last year one company sponsored a section— this year they could not sponsor a fence.”

    Sharon Burriss at Gleneagles said the horse trials on 20 September had been cancelled because the organisers did not want to approach sponsors in the current financial climate.

    And Beamish organiser Carole Swinburn said having cancelled last year meant the event had no money to run this year (11 October).

    Salperton (27-28 June) and Hutton International (22-23 August) were also cancelled due to lack of sponsors.

    Henbury Hall organisers have called it a day after 20 years as the team wants to retire.

    It is a similar story at Stilemans where organiser Veronica Spackman retired this year spelling the end of the 25-year-old event (news, 12 March) and at Rolleston, Leics, where the landowner has called time on the event.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (20 August, ’09)

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