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Ground conditions ‘great’ but further rain expected as BE resumes after washout weekend

Organisers and riders have shared their disappointment after weekend British Eventing (BE) fixtures were cancelled due to heavy rainfall.

While events ran on Saturday (28 September) at Moreton Morrell, Kelsall Hill, Alnwick Ford, Bricky and South of England – all BE competition was abandoned yesterday.

The organisers of Kelsall Hill (27 to 29 September) said in a statement the team was “sincerely sorry” to cancel the final day of competition despite “doing their best” to keep running.

“Since 2006 we have been lucky enough not to have had to cancel a single day so this is a new experience for us and it is most disappointing,” said the statement.

“We apologise for the inconvenience for competitors but the ground isn’t holding up to the challenge and we are forecast 100% chance of an inch of rain tonight and more tomorrow.

“On the basis that the car parking will be a shambles and the cross-country unsafe if the rain arrives in the volume forecast, on top of the muddy mess we are already in, the decision has been made.”

The organisers of South of England International (28 to 29 September) said the ground conditions at the site had gone from “fantastic” to unsafe following “horrendous” weather.

“We are all gutted and upset and hope you all understand,” said the organisers.

Pippa Funnell, who took 3rd in the BE100Open section E on Billy Cassidy, and 6th in the novice class with Billy Eastender on Saturday at South of England, said she was “gutted” for the organisers to have to cancel the second day.

“So much work involved whether the horse trials runs or not. We must thank them all,” she said.

BE has confirmed the cancelled BE80(T) Championships, due to take place at Kelsall Hill, will now take place at Norton Disney in Lincolnshire on 25 to 27 October.

“It is such a shame that the Airowear BE80(T) championships weren’t able to go ahead at Kelsall Hill this year. We are extremely appreciative to the Kelsall Hill team who tried everything to keep the event going but sadly the weather was against them. The Kelsall team have done an incredible job to grow the championships over the past few years and we are extremely grateful for their support,” said Chloe Barnes, BE commercial manager.

“Thanks must also go to Joe Weller and the team at Norton Disney for agreeing to host the rescheduled championships at such short notice; we know that they will put on a great competition for our competitors.”

The BE100 regional final due to take place at Bricky has been scheduled to Bovington, Dorset, on 19 to 20 October.

Osberton International Horse Trials incorporating the BE young horse championships (3 to 6 October) is due to go ahead but organisers said Tuesday’s (1 October) trot-up will not take place and all horses will trot up on Wednesday from 2pm.

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The organisers said the ground is looking “great” after the rainfall – but that further rain is expected on Tuesday.

“Owing to the weather forecast we will be closing the site on Tuesday and no vehicles/horseboxes etc will be allowed on site,” said the statement.

“We have contacted those riders due to do dressage on Wednesday and rescheduled your times for Thursday and Friday. We apologised for the inconvenience, but this will enable us to hopefully combat the severe weather on Tuesday and be up and rolling first thing Wednesday morning.”

Racing was also affected as Saturday’s (28 September) meeting at Haydock and today’s meeting at Newton Abbot were abandoned due to waterlogged ground.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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