The process is under way to find a replacement for Belton International Horse Trials, British Eventing (BE) has confirmed.
In response to last month’s announcement from landowner the National Trust that the event at Belton House would not run in future, the BE fixtures team has been working on finding its successor.
BE emailed all organisers asking them to express an interest in applying for the fixture, then sent application packs to those who responded.
The window for applying was 14 days, after which venues will be assessed and a shortlist presented to a deciding panel. BE aims for the process to be completed by the end of June or early July.
“From a membership perspective it is essential that British Eventing replaces this fixture,” said BE interim CEO Jude Matthews. “The early season CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S [previously CIC1*, CIC2* and CIC3*] classes are a hugely important stepping stone for so many horses and riders, especially the CCI4*-S as a preparatory run prior to Badminton.”
Ms Matthews said application packs have also been sent to organisers as BE tries to find the best replacement for the national fixture previously held at Gatcombe in March.
“Very sadly, Pattie Biden and her team ran the last ever spring fixture at Gatcombe this year,” she said. “They have done a brilliant job for many years, and we are hugely grateful for the work they have put into the event.
“This other important fixture for the members will also be replaced for 2020.”
Organisers had no knowledge of the decision until yesterday
‘This can only be seen as an extremely positive step forward for the sport’
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Chris Farr, BE’s acting sport manager (fixtures), said the early events are ‘so incredibly important” for members.
“As would be expected, there will be a strong emphasis on a venue that can cope as well as possible with the early season weather, but there are many factors that need to be considered before a venue can be allocated a fixture,” he added.
“Suitable ground and facilities to run at the time of year are essential, as well as location, restrictions on the venue’s availability, terrain etc. The application process is an important step in ensuring we find suitable venues to run at this time of year.
“This is a high priority for the BE fixtures team.”
Don’t miss Harry Meade’s thoughts on the loss of Belton in this week’s edition of H&H magazine, out today, 23 May.