A spate of saddlery thefts from the stables at Blenheim Horse Trials last weekend (10-14 September) left several eventers begging and borrowing tack in order to complete the competition.
Several top riders’ saddles were stolen from on the Saturday night of the event, including those belonging to Germany’s Bettina Hoy (pictured) and Dutch rider Tim Lips.
Bettina Hoy had her “favourite” jumping saddle stolen from a tack trunk.
She told H&H: “It was one of the Hoy saddles that Passier used to make. There aren’t many of them left and it will be impossible to replace as Passier does not make them anymore.
“It happened in the middle of the night when the stable area is supposedly secure and no-one is allowed in unless there is an emergency.”
Bettina borrowed fellow competitor Kirsty Johnston’s Devoucoux saddle for her showjumping round on Designer 10. She went on to complete in 18th place.
Tim Lips had both his dressage and cross-country saddles taken at the same time. H&H understands these were not locked away.
Blenheim director Mandy Hervieu said that as well as having all-night security patrols in place, there was also CCTV in the stable area.
She added that the theft appeared to have been both well planned and carefully executed.
It is still not clear whether the thieves came from outside the event.
CCTV footage is being examined, and a girth left behind by the thieves, is being tested for fingerprints.