There was a distinct sense of déjà vu for event riders last week, with hock-deep mud and cancellations.
Somerford Park lost the Sunday (10 March) to adverse weather, which also forced the cancellation of Poplar Park’s unaffiliated event.
Although Tweseldown organisers made a Herculean effort to run all 24 sections, opinion was divided as to whether it would have been better to cancel.
Deep mud prompted many riders — including Mary King and William Fox-Pitt —to withdraw after the dressage in Thursday and Friday’s intermediate and novice sections (7-8 March).
In one open novice section, just three completed.
“Can someone please make a sensible decision about Tweseldown?” tweeted Laura Collett. “I don’t want to run, but the owners deserve their money back.”
Ellie Hughes, who also withdrew after her open novice dressage test, joked that it had cost her “about £20 a circle”.
Organisers moved the dressage and showjumping arenas on Friday to enable the BE90 and BE100 sections to run at the weekend.
Their efforts were applauded by Vittoria Panizzon. She won a BE100 section on Borough Free Flight, who is out of the same dam as her Olympic ride Borough Pennyz.
“It was disappointing for so many people to panic and withdraw,” she told H&H.
“The black warm-up areas didn’t look pretty, but the mud was not deep, sticky or holding — it rode fine. Horses hunt all winter, jumping in far deeper going, with no problems.”
“Tweseldown did a fantastic job,” she added.
British Eventing thanked organisers and volunteers for their “enormous efforts” in continuing to run.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (14 March 2013)