British Eventing 2022 calendar: New fixtures, a returning favourite, and a cancellation

  • New venues, a returning favourite and the loss of an established fixture feature among the headlines as the 2022 British Eventing (BE) season kicks off in a month.

    Mendip Plains Ston Easton joins the British Eventing calendar for the first time this year, with the Somerset event running from 14 to 15 May with classes from BE80 to BE100.

    The equestrian centre is run by the Green family, who have been farming the Waldegrave Estate in Chewton Mendip for more than 80 years.

    In the 80s and 90s, a BE event ran on neighbouring farmland, owned by joint organiser John Doman, great uncle of Mendip Plains Ston Easton centre manager Hannah Smith (née Green).

    “We are delighted to be bringing affiliated eventing back to Ston Easton,” said Hannah. “Since opening our gates in August 2014 we have developed into an established venue in the southwest, offering schooling, unaffiliated and affiliated dressage, showjumping competitions, hunter trials and unaffiliated [one-day events]. Our ultimate goal has been to run our very own BE fixture and we are thrilled to now have this opportunity.”

    She added: “We owe the Waldegrave family a huge vote of thanks for allowing us the opportunity to diversify into the equestrian sector. Our aim has always been to provide a facility for all ages and abilities, with a warm welcome and a friendly face. Whether eventing is your hobby, or you are out to produce the next Badminton winner, we hope we can be part of your eventing journey. We look forward to bringing you a well-organised, fun and welcoming weekend of eventing in the southwest”

    BE chief executive Helen West said the organisation is “delighted” to welcome the event to the calendar.

    “Many of our members will have fond memories of the days of the previous Ston Easton Horse Trials and it will be wonderful to have affiliated eventing back in this beautiful corner of Somerset,” she said. “We look forward to working with the Green family and their team and hope many riders in the southwest will be putting the date in their diaries.”

    Smiths Lawn, at Windsor Great Park, is cancelled for a third consecutive year.

    The pandemic resulted in the plug being pulled on the 2020 and 2021 fixtures, and organisers said this week (3 February) that it will not return in 2022.

    “Regrettably the extensive work the Guards Polo Club are planning on the polo pitches near Cumberland Gate this year means that Smiths Lawn Horse Trials cannot run in August 2022,” said a statement from the event.

    “There are too many obstacles for us to ensure the safe running with the added concerns on the loss of the abandonment insurance.

    “We very much hope to be able to run in August 2023.”

    Floors Castle returns to the fixtures list for 2022, following fears the event would be lost. The previous organisers announced that 2019 would be the fixture’s final year, but Jamie Innes, who previously organised both Floors Castle and Thirleston, worked with the Edward family to resume the event. Classes run from BE80 to CCI3*-S (13 to 15 May).

    “Floors has always been one of our favourite events. As a family all six, all of us have competed there from BE90 through to Intermediate. We are delighted to have the opportunity to organise this prestigious Scottish event,” said organiser Bruce Edward.

    Oxtalls, near Stroud, is taking Goring’s spring fixture “for one year only”, owing to a change in farming policy. Goring’s other landlord has offered the fixture a larger piece of land below the cross-country course, meaning it can expand its event in future.

    “Until now, this new parcel of land has been used for growing crops, so we have had to put it down to grass,” said a statement from Goring organisers.

    “This means it will not be fit to use until our September event. Oxstalls Cross Country near Stroud in Gloucester will be taking our date in April for one year only, so please support them. I am sure they will run a super event.”

    Goring (2) is scheduled to go ahead, as planned, from 3 to 4 September.

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