‘Sad’ loss of international horse trials

  • Hopetoun Horse Trials has run for the last time, organisers have confirmed, as it is not financially viable.

    The West Lothian event, which included CIC one-, two- and three-star and CCI one- and two-star classes, did not attract enough entries so it was “not worth going on”, according to Stuart Buntine, director of organiser Bede Events.

    “We struggled with entries, and to find a date; we had to move it three or four times,” Mr Buntine told H&H.

    “There are too many CIC3*s in the country to need us. For any event, you invest and invest, and it needs to take off.

    “But we were the ninth of nine advanced and CIC events in a row, and the furthest away, and there aren’t the competitors to go round.

    “We only had 15 or 20 in the three-star this year, and if you lose four riders, who’d each bring three or four horses, it’s not viable.”

    Mr Buntine said the event had included grassroots British Eventing classes before Bede took it over, in 2011, but that he wanted to concentrate on the international side.

    “When we started, there were very few events in Scotland, now there’s a huge number,” he said.

    “It’s sad because it’s the most fantastic venue.”

    Mr Buntine added that the decision was made before it was announced that Barbury Castle was on the market, adding: “Had we known that, it might have made us sit up and think.”

    A British Eventing spokesman said: “British Eventing wishes to express its sincere thanks to the Earl and Countess of Hopetoun who have kindly permitted the running of the horse trials across their estate for many years, and our gratitude to the organisers, volunteers and countless people who have supported Hopetoun Horse Trials.

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    “For competitors and spectators in the north and across the border, there are four international events in the BE calendar, with Floors Castle (CIC1* and 2*), Blair Castle (CCI1*, 2* and 3*) in Scotland and Burgham (1) and (2) and Aske International Horse Trials both running CIC events in the north of England.

    “Scotland also next year welcomes an additional fixture at Kirriemuir Horse Trials (in Angus), plus 2016 saw two events at Perth-based Forgandenny Horse Trials for the first time.”

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