Another major horse trials lost as Covid-19 uncertainty continues

  • The Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials is the latest fixture to be cancelled in what has been a bleak fortnight for the eventing calendar.

    Chatsworth’s (15-16 May) cancellation takes the tally of international fixtures lost in the last two weeks to five. Badminton, Bramham, Withington Manor and Rockingham Castle are the other four to fall by the wayside this year, despite best efforts.

    A statement from the organisers said restrictions on outdoor gatherings will not be relaxed any earlier than 17 May and even then, numbers will be capped and household mixing restricted, so the decision was made to cancel in the “interests of safety and to provide certainty for exhibitors, volunteers, spectators and competitors”, as well as insurance concerns.

    “Like so many other events, the challenges we face this year are very similar to those we experienced in 2020,” said Chatsworth horse trials director Patricia Clifton.

    “The government roadmap out of the pandemic provides many reasons for hope, but it has been made very clear that the dates given are ‘best case’ and subject to change.

    “As a result we do not feel that we can guarantee the high standards of safety and quality that we usually would, not only to everyone directly involved but also the local area, which is always so supportive.

    “It is desperately sad that we have to cancel for the second year in succession, especially as we have been working really hard with all stakeholders, including British Eventing, to find some sort of solution, but it has proved a challenge too far. Another significant issue was the impossibility of us, or to our knowledge any events, obtaining insurance against the pandemic.

    “We very much look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2022 for the usual wonderful weekend of competition and entertainment.”

    The popular Derbyshire fixture was due to hold a CCI2*-S and CCI4*-S, alongside national novice and advanced sections this year.

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    Duchess of Devonshire, Laura Cavendish, said she is “extremely grateful” to Patricia and her team for the time an energy they have put in to try to enable the event to go ahead.

    “This decision was not an easy one, however throughout the pandemic the health and wellbeing of our visitors, colleagues, partners and local communities has always been our number one priority, and this remains the case,” she added.

    The provisional dates for next year’s event are 13-15 May.

    The garden and estate farm shop remain open, while more areas of Chatsworth are scheduled to reopen on 12 April, with the house and indoor catering on 17 May.

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