Low entries force cancellation of eventing showcase

The organisers of Osborne House Horse Trials say they are “devastated” to announce the event planned for 23 to 24 July has been cancelled owing to a lack of entries.

Bede Events says there have not been enough entries to make the Isle of Wight event viable.

“We love the island so much and have worked really hard to deliver the event again this year, with many changes and developments planned, however we now find ourselves in a position where there are not enough entries for the competition,” Bede said in a statement.

“We don’t feel that we can continue with the event if we do not have enough competitors to provide good sport for the two days.

“This was a hugely difficult decision to take and we are so upset after such fantastic support from English Heritage and the island community. The whole team has been working really hard to ensure that this year’s event built on the success of last year’s.”

The Osborne House competition ran for the first time last year as the first affiliated horse trials to be run on the island. The aim was to showcase the sport to a new audience, and while it was supported by British Eventing, it was not fully affiliated as the sport was run in a different format.

Bede had explained that the competition at Osborne is “much shorter and faster-paced” than traditional horse trials. Competitors were to ride a shorter dressage test and slightly shorter showjumping course, with chances to choose alternative jumps and routes. The cross-country was to run in reverse order with leaders going last.

At last year’s event, entries were lower than expected.

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Bede said in its statement: “We can’t thank the Isle of Wight community enough for really embracing the event and we’re very sad that we’re now unable to bring the sport back to Osborne this year. Unfortunately, it is not possible to continue if we do not have a field of competitors.

“Our heartfelt apologies go out to everyone who has bought tickets and all the media channels and strategic partners who have supported us in the past few months. Everyone across the sport is going to work hard to encourage riders back to Osborne Horse Trials for 2020.”

Anyone who had booked tickets will be refunded “within the next couple of weeks”. For more information on refunds, email tickets@bedeltd.co.uk

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