Equestrian businesses – gearing up for one of their busiest weekends of the year – have been left counting the cost, following the cancellation of the 2012 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (3-7 May).
There are more than 200 trade stands at Badminton, and for many visitors, the shopping is almost as important as the eventing action.
Paul Baynham-Honri of Patey Hats told H&H he was “in shock” after receiving the news.
“It’s our first major show of the season and it accounts for a large percentage of our turnover,” he said.
“At Badminton, you get a concentration of sales over what is now five days, which gives you the input to fund the rest of the year.
“It’s like having the best shopping street in the country shut,” he added.
Mr Baynham-Honri sells between 50 and 60 of his bespoke riding hats at Badminton.
“A lot of people save up to go shopping at Badminton. They will come and see us to get measured for their hunt caps and toppers.
“Our stand is also a big dropping-off place for people getting their hunt caps refurbished for next season,” he added.
Theresa Morris, owner of Treehouse Sporting Colours, said the cancellation of Badminton was “very, very disappointing”.
“The lorry’s loaded, it’s like putting a pin in a balloon,” she told H&H.
“We do a lot of business at Badminton. People wait to come and see us for a fitting and to choose their cross-country colours.
“We have got a lot of stock in for the event, which is going to affect our cashflow.
“This is going to have a big effect on us,” she added.
Helen Salmon, owner of Just Chaps burst into tears when she heard the news.
“My house is now overflowing with chaps I’d made especially for Badminton, including the new GB range in support of Team GBR,” she said.
Ms Salmon was due to launch a new website at Badminton and was hoping to sell up to £10,000 of products.
“The cancellation is devastating for us as Badminton is one of our key events where we get to meet our customers face to face.
“The launch of our new website will go ahead this week, but the effects of the weather have certainly dampened our spirits,” said Ms Salmon.
And it is not just equestrian businesses that will be left out of pocket by the cancellation.
An economic impact assessment carried out several years ago found that Badminton was worth in the region of £50m to the local area.
Dave Kelly, who owns The Priory Inn in nearby Tetbury told H&H that Badminton weekend rivaled Christmas for being the busiest three-day period of the year.
“Customers have been cancelling in droves this morning (Monday, 30 April),” he said.
“We are trying to resell the rooms, but it’s unlikely at this stage.
“Our restaurant, which is a real haunt for the Badminton crowd, is not going to have its usual buzz this year,” he added.
H&H will be hosting a ‘virtual Badminton shopping’ event on Horseandhound.co.uk over the Badminton period (3-7 May). If your business had a trade stand at Badminton and would like to take part please call our classified team on 0800 316 5450