British Eventing (BE) is considering “all possibilities” to fill holes left in the international fixtures calendar following the cancellation of four internationals in two weeks.
The Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials (10-13 June), which featured CC4*-L/S and under-25 classes, was the latest event to be lost. Organisers announced on Monday (8 March) that they could not guarantee people’s health, safety and welfare owing to the pandemic, and the nature of the park.
The loss of Bramham, one week after the announcement that the plug had been pulled on Badminton, means there is currently no advanced-level long-format international event in the 2021 British calendar until Blair in late summer (26-29 August).
The Bramham cancellation also came days after the news that the Fairfax & Favor Rockingham International Horse Trials (21-23 May), with classes up to CCI3*-S, and Withington Manor International (1-2 May), featuring national classes to advanced plus a CCI2*-S including a pony section, would not run this year.
A statement from BE, released after H&H had gone to press on Monday (8 March), said the organisation has already started the process of replacing the lost Withington and Rockingham classes.
“We will start the process for also replacing Bramham’s CCI4*-S, CC4*-L and CCI4*-L under-25 classes to an appropriate time in the fixtures calendar,” it added.
“We are working with our performance managers and the Event Riders Association to ensure that we consider all possibilities. With the impacts of Brexit and Covid-19 on travelling across Europe, we want to ensure that we have sufficient opportunities for GB-based athletes within the UK this season.
“We appreciate the need for riders to be able to plan their season and further plans will be announced as soon as possible.”
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Badminton director Jane Tuckwell thanked all those for the support and the “kind and pragmatic reaction” to the decision to cancel that they “had hoped so much not to have to make”.
“It was a very hard decision but the health and safety of the local community and those that would have attended is Badminton’s priority, and having had regular meetings with South Gloucestershire Council and Public Health England, the consensus was that it was irresponsible to continue with the planning to run an event of such scale and in the location at the beginning of May,” she said, writing in her director’s blog (9 March).
“As we all know the Covid situation continues to be both fragile and unpredictable and the event sitting within the proximity of Badminton village would leave this and the surrounding area vulnerable both before and during the event as we cannot guarantee the security of either these areas or the event site itself.”
She added that the team has had discussions with several riders to explain the reasons behind the decision in greater detail and realise the “huge frustration” felt by owners and riders.
“Let’s hope by all taking sensible decisions, even if they are unwelcome, over the coming weeks it will help all to open up sooner than later and events that are planned later in the year will be able to run and we can all look forward and plan for a bonanza in 2022, when the whole Badminton family will be able to reunite,” she said, wishing great success to all competitors and events that do go ahead this year.
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