‘Immense sadness’ as Burghley Horse Trials 2021 cancelled

  • The 2021 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials will not run, organisers have confirmed with “immense sadness”, owing to continued uncertainty over coronavirus.

    The event was due to run from 2-5 September and would have been Britain’s only CCI5* of 2021 following the cancellation of Badminton. But today (7 May), organisers said: “Despite the continued easing of lockdown measures, the nationwide vaccination programme and the hope within the Government roadmap for unlocking the country, there have been and remain too many variables and uncertainties due to the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver this much-loved international event.”

    A Burghley statement said the team has “striven” for the last six months to find a scenario that would allow the event to run.

    “However, the event runs on a greenfield site; the lead time and strategic infrastructure planning all require significant investment and expenditure year on year,” the statement said.

    “Staging the competition element is ongoing 365 days a year, from one year’s event to the next and the contractual cancellation procedures mean that even though restrictions are easing across the country, we have to make difficult decisions many months ahead of the event. The severe financial implications of a potential cancellation of an event of this scale and magnitude at a late stage, without available pandemic insurance, are too great a risk for all involved.

    “We are desperately sad for the sport of eventing; our riders, owners and their sponsors who have been so affected by the large-scale cancellation of events over the last 12 months. Whilst this year we will not see CCI 5*L competition at Land Rover Burghley, we remain steadfast in our commitment that the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials will endure. We are particularly grateful to Land Rover, our title sponsor, who together with our other sponsors, have been so understanding and supportive throughout this period.”

    Burghley Horse Trials president Miranda Rock said the team came to the very difficult decision with “a very heavy heart”.

    “The horse trials is an incredibly important part of what we do here at Burghley and is the highlight of the year for all those who live and work here,” she said.

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    “I am deeply sorry for everyone whose hopes have been dashed — from the equestrian world internationally to the Pony Club nationally, for the people of Stamford and our neighbouring communities, as well as our wonderful suppliers, supporters, retailers, staff and visitors who will not be able to enjoy this glorious event in September.

    “Next year marks our 60th anniversary and, despite the challenges ahead, we will be focusing all our efforts on delivering a spectacular event in 2022.”

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