British Eventing (BE) is looking at contingency plans as rain continues to blight the season.
BE’s fixtures team and its fixtures action group met on Friday (6 April) to “discuss the ongoing challenges” facing the calendar.
A BE spokesman said the “key priority” for international competitors is ensuring riders have sufficient chances to qualify for Houghton (24-27 May) with the partial cancellation of Burnham Market last week (29-31 March).
“There are still opportunities at Belton, Bicton, Floors and Chatsworth — some of which still have capacity,” said the spokesman.
“However we have a watching brief over this issue over the coming critical days.”
The team is also planning for the possibility that it will need to add days or events to the national calendar.
“[This would be] to cope with the surge in entries from riders desperate to get started on their delayed season, for example where an event has sufficiently high level of entries that they can add an extra day,” added the spokesman.
“Not all events have the ability to do this but where they do then this is very much foreseen within our rules.”
BE is remaining optimistic for the 2018 season despite the early washout.
“While the start of the season has been challenging, history suggests that when we have a lot of events cancel in March and April, we go on to have a good season with very few events abandoning,” said the spokesman.
“For example in 2016 we had 11 events cancel in full and eight partly in March and April, but then only had four [abandoned] during the rest of the season.”
Two additional days of competition will run at Moreton, on 14 and 15 April, with classes from BE80(T) to intermediate novice.
Entries are being taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The site was inspected today (Monday, 9 April) by two BE technical advisers, who have said that currently the going is absolutely perfect,” said the spokesman.
“We are grateful to the organisers for hosting these two extra days of competition.”
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Larkhill was the only affiliated fixture to go ahead out of the seven scheduled over the weekend.
Sapey in Herefordshire (11-12 April) and Bovington in Dorsey (14-15 April) have already been cancelled.
But Belton, which is scheduled to run from 11 to 15 April, is reporting the ground is “holding up well and beautifully green”.
John Coupland, of Eland Lodge (14-15 April), has said he is “very hopeful” the event will be able to run.
“Following a BE course inspection yesterday (8 April) amendments were made to the cross-country track to hopefully ensure we have the best possible chance of running,” he said.
“Moreover the technicality of the normal track was reduced to reflect the obvious fact that at this point in the season very few competitors have had the experience they would normally have enjoyed.”
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