‘Great sadness’ as Liverpool International cancelled, but hope some competition may still run

  • It is with “great sadness and regret” that this year’s Liverpool International Horse Show has been cancelled — although a lower-level event may still run behind closed doors.

    Bolesworth Events announced today (18 September) that the event, which should have run from New Year’s Eve until 3 January 2021, would not go ahead.

    The organising team had been working with the M&S Bank Arena for months, hoping to find a way to run a viable indoor show under the “current challenging circumstances”.

    “With the health and safety, as well as the welfare, of the equestrian community at the heart of our decision-making, we must act responsibly,” a spokesman said.

    “As a result, given the commercial implications and current government guidance regarding social distancing and mass gatherings, it is clear an event of this scale poses far too great a risk to host in what has already been a challenging year.

    “We appreciate that many riders and supporters will be disappointed by this news and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone directly involved with the event; our sponsors, visitors, competitors, exhibitors, officials and contractors for their continued support.”

    Managing director Nina Barbour said that, having run successful competitions at Bolesworth this summer, including the NAF Five Star British Showjumping National Championships, the Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships and the Al Shira’aa Training Show Summer Series, the team knows it is possible to host competition safely behind closed doors at an outdoor venue.

    “The key challenge has been to transfer this model into an indoor environment with the public in attendance; it simply hasn’t been feasible from a health and safety or commercial point of view,” she said.

    “Earlier this year, we hosted ‘Equestrian Relief’; bringing together the equestrian community to raise money in support of our NHS heroes. Having raised over £300,000, we very much hoped that Liverpool would be a celebration of this campaign and herald the end of what has been a challenging year for so many, and we are currently scoping alternative ways of achieving this.

    Continues below…

    “In order to support our riders and partners, we are exploring the feasibility to develop a two-star international show, which will strictly be behind closed doors in line with current Government guidelines, for competitors only, on the same dates as originally planned for the Liverpool show.

    “As with all our events this year; we are keen to support the UK equestrian industry back into competition at the top level and it feels only right we continue this work and support our elite riders as they prepare for Tokyo 2021. We aim to better understand the viability of running this event by the start of October, with further information released as soon as possible.

    “We wish everyone well in these uncertain times and look forward to welcoming you all to a truly incredible show in 2021.”

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