Snow forces cancellations and disrupts horse sport

  • First flooding and now snow — 2013 has not begun well for equestrianism, with weather conditions forcing cancellations across the UK.

    Heavy snow has fallen across the UK, with the worst affected areas north-east and south-east England and south-east Wales.

    Eventing’s jumping and style (JAS) series started on 12 January, but already fixtures at Hartpury, Arena UK, Forest Edge and Berkshire College have been cancelled.

    Much racing is at an unscheduled halt at the moment. Friday’s (25 January) cards at Doncaster and Huntingdon have already been lost as well as Saturday’s (26 January) fixtures at Doncaster and Uttoxeter. Cheltenham’s Festival Trials day on Saturday is also uncertain, but officials are hopeful it will go ahead.

    “We have already lost 21 fixtures so far in 2013. That is as many as we lost in the whole of 2011,” said BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey.

    The weather also meant that Addington High Profile Show (20-22 January) was called off, meaning disappointment for dressage fans.

    All of Britain’s gold-winning 2012 dressage team were to compete, including Charlotte Dujardin on Carl Hester’s London Olympic ride Uthopia.

    Addington Manor and British Dressage (BD) have not been able to agree on a date on which to reschedule the show.

    Organiser Tim Price had wanted to run on 1-3 March, but BD felt it would be too close to Myerscough Premier League (6-8 March).

    BD said the show would now not be rescheduled.

    Addington Manor is considering its future as a BD venue, said Mr Price.

    Hunts have also been affected by the weather, with some choosing to meet on foot rather than cancel altogether.

    Around 30 followers braved sub-zero temperatures on Saturday for the Woodland Pytchley’s meet at Bushy Lawns, near the hunt’s kennels.

    Secretary Mark Ferguson explained: “The roads are passable, but you would not want to take a horse out — we shall try to hunt on foot as much as we can.”

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (24 January 2013)

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