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Hartpury’s European Championships and Equifest among latest cancellations

Hartpury has cancelled its major 2020 equestrian events including the young rider and junior European dressage and eventing championships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gloucestershire venue has abandoned hopes of running the NAF Hartpury Festival of Dressage (1 to 5 July), NAF Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular (14 to 16 July) and the NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials (12 to 16 August).

The FEI dressage and eventing European Championships for young riders and juniors (27 July to 2 August) have also been cancelled. Hartpury is working with the FEI to establish whether it can host the championships in future years.

“While we are extremely disappointed not to be running any of these competitions in 2020, we feel this is a necessary decision to make in the current circumstances,” said Hartpury’s equine director, Phillip Cheetham.

“The health of staff, volunteers, officials, competitors and visitors to Hartpury remains our top priority as well as reducing any unnecessary pressure on our local NHS services.

“So much work has gone into the preparation for the FEI championships, and we’ll continue to work hard with the FEI to find a way to run the competition bigger and better in future.

“We’d like to thank all our long-standing supporters and sponsors, NAF in particular, who have done so much to help prepare for our 2020 events, and we look forward to working with them again in future. We look forward to welcoming everyone back for celebrations beside the international arena when these challenging times are behind us.”

Hartpury has pledged to refund all tickets and accommodation in the coming weeks.

Provisional dates for next year’s Festival of Dressage are 7 to 11 July 2021, with the horse trials provisionally scheduled for 11 to 15 August 2021.

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Equifest is among the other major events to cancel owing to the pandemic.

The event was due to be held at the East of England Showground from 19 to 23 August.

“Following the guidelines which have been set out by the government for the forthcoming months it will not be possible for us to hold the event this year,” said a statement from the organisers.

“Our paramount concern is for the health and wellbeing of our competitors, exhibitors, judges and stewards during this time. It would not therefore be possible to plan and run an event of this scale while Covid-19 is still prominent throughout the country, and we hope for your support on this decision.

“This is an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone and with Equifest being the largest amateur horse show in the UK, health and safety has to remain our number one priority.”

Organisers have said they will refund online entries and cashed cheques, and destroy any cheques they have not yet paid in. Booked exhibitors will also be refunded.

Next year’s Equifest will take place from 18 to 22 August 2021.

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