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‘Great regret’ as coronavirus forces Olympia cancellation

It is with “great regret” that Olympia, the London International Horse Show has today (14 September) been cancelled.

Organisers said today that, having spent the last few months looking at different ways in which the 2020 show (16-21 December) could run safely, they had to make the “difficult decision” to call it off, “with the health and welfare of everyone involved at the heart of that decision-making process”.

In a statement, the organising committee said that, given the commercial implications of government social distancing and other coronavirus-related requirements, it would not be possible to run.

“Unfortunately, this means that the Olympia feature events, including the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup, the Olympia Grand Prix, the puissance, the FEI Dressage World Cup and the FEI Driving World Cup qualifiers will not be held in 2020, along with the international displays and all the traditional Olympia festive entertainment,” the statement said.

Show director Simon Brooks-Ward said that the first Olympia, run by his father Raymond with Clarion Events, was held in 1972, so 2020 should have been the 49th show.

“My brothers and I have attended every show and therefore I completely empathise with the sadness felt by our visitors, who will not be cheering, laughing, and clapping in the Grand Hall this year,” he said.

“I also understand the disappointment felt by our competitors, officials, sponsors and particularly our trade stand exhibitors, who would have been particularly looking forward to the Christmas boost that Olympia gives them.

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“Olympia holds a special place in the equestrian world’s hearts. Generations of families have held their Christmas parties at the show and many will not be able to imagine a Christmas without a visit to Olympia. However, we are looking forward to being back in 2021, with a bumper show to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

“I am extremely grateful for the supportive messages we have received from the equestrian community over the summer and am only sorry that we are unable to be with them at Olympia this Christmas.”

Olympia 2021 is due to run from 15 to 20 December.

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