Winter sun-seekers are not the only tourists to have fallen victim to recent exceptional weather in Spain.
British and Irish showjumpers are among the visitors to have headed to what they hoped would have been warmer climes, only to be caught up in blizzards and storms.
The Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Valencia, eastern Spain, has had to cancel and reschedule days of competition due to the freak weather.
The first two-week show of the year, Met I, runs from 17-29 January and features CSI* and CSI2* plus international young horse classes. Riders from across the world have entered and it has a total prize-pot of €264,000.
Event director Bettina Pöhls told H&H on Thursday (19 January) this was the first snow to fall there in 30 years.
“We had to delay the young horse classes [on Wednesday], but were able to jump in the afternoon,” she said. “The real snow was just up the hill behind us.”
Unfortunately the venue was forced to cancel classes on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday due to very stormy weather and hard rain.
Cancelled classes were rescheduled, or prize money added to similar classes, to be held this week.
Although normal temperatures for January in the region are about 9C, the mercury has dropped to around the freezing mark.
More than half Spain’s 50 regions were put on alert for sleet and snowstorms last week, with heavy snow causing problems for travellers on the roads in the east of the country.
But there is more positive news for the remainder of the show, with sunshine and highs of 17C forecast for the next three days.
Despite the rain, British riders have been enjoying success at the show.
Holly Smith and Elore finished third in the two-phase CSI2* 1.40m today (Monday), while Jemma Kirk and her own Tchoupi Pironniere finished second in the CSI2* 1.40m on Friday.
Leonne George scored a first British win of the show on Friday, taking the CSI* 1.10m with I Candy II, before adding another victory to their collection the CSI* 1.15m today (Monday).
Benjamin Raistrick and Top Limit took top honours in today’s CSI* 1.25m today (Monday), with Gemma Wright, Victoria Bennett, Anja Jackson, Louise Simpson, Caroline Breen, Emma Stoker all notching up top-six placings so far.