Snow stops play for equestrian sport

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  • Equestrian sport has been brought to a standstill as swathes of the country have been covered by inches of snow, causing serious disruption on both major and minor roads.

    The Met Office’s weather warnings for “widespread snow with around 10 cm in parts of northwest England, the Midlands and Wales, with a chance of 15-20 cm in more exposed isolated areas” on Sunday 10 December proved accurate, leading to the cancellation of race meetings and equestrian events alike.

    The College EC, Keysoe, in Bedfordshire cancelled the second day of its British Dressage (BD) High Profile dressage show. Competitors posted their support for the decision on social media.

    H&H columnist Anna Ross said: “Full respect to Simon Bates and the team at The College Equestrian Centre who ran an excellent show in very difficult circumstances yesterday before deciding to cancel day two in the interests of the safety and welfare of the horses and competitors.

    “As a venue proprietor myself, I’m very aware the costs of cancellation are considerable. Knowing that the College EC has put our horses’ interests above their profit margin puts it high on my list of ‘best venues’.”

    British Eventing had initially hoped to go ahead with its Arena Eventing competition at Vale View Equestrian near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, leading to a social media outcry due to poor driving conditions in the area, but then changed its mind due to the worsening weather.

    The British Eventing head office was also closed on Monday due to the heavy snowfall, as was the British Horse Society’s HQ.

    Bury Farm in Bucks cancelled its BD combined training show on Sunday and its regular BD competition on Monday due to the ongoing snow fall. It hopes to publish an alternative date for its combined training qualified as soon as possible.

    Continued below…

    Racing lost meetings at Huntingdon and Kelso on Sunday while today’s action at Musselburgh has been cancelled.

    Tattersalls Ireland has cancelled today’s Ascot December sales for horses in training.

    Numerous hunt meets have been affected and the Dianas of the Chase ride was among the events lost to the weather.

    The snow is expected to be replaced with warmer wetter conditions later in the week, which should allow equestrian sport to return to normal.

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