‘All hands on deck’ as event steps up to host replacement fixture – with just days’ notice

  • Tweseldown has received a flood of praise after the event stepped up to offer replacement classes at the 11th hour, after Cirencester Park (1) was forced to abandon owing to waterlogged ground.

    Cirencester Park (22 to 24 March) serves as an early season run for many horses that are expected to target upper-level international events. But after 15mm to 20mm of rain over the weekend on already “absolutely saturated ground” and more rain forecast, the decision was made yesterday lunchtime (18 March) that it would not be safe to run this week.

    “We made an early call because we hope that other opportunities may present themselves for the weekend,” said Alec Lochore, of Musketeer Events which runs the horse trials at Cirencester Park. “We are really sorry for everybody involved. We very much hope to see you at a dry and sunny Cirencester Park [for the next fixture here] at the end of April.”

    Later that afternoon, British Eventing (BE) announced that Tweseldown organiser Rachel Faulkner and her team had stepped up to run a replacement event, with days to prepare.

    Tweseldown will host intermediate, open intermediate, advanced intermediate, novice, intermediate novice, and youth classes this weekend (23 to 24 March), with cross-country courses designed by Andy Heffernan.

    “We will be providing totally different tracks to those ridden across a few weeks ago at our previous event,” said Rachel.

    “We very much want to make sure that anyone returning to Tweseldown, after only competing here recently, is given the opportunity to ride over a different course, which we are fortunate enough to be able to offer here.”

    She added: “It’s all hands on deck, and I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who has stepped up after our millions of phone calls to see if they can help.

    “We do have one small challenge – and that is dressage. There is a big conference on, so we are struggling with dressage judges: we need list three and above. If anyone knows any dressage judges who are free this weekend, please do let me know. I can’t wait to hopefully see loads of riders here at the weekend.”

    Tweseldown is also seeking dressage judges of list four and above on Saturday as well as a farrier that day, plus volunteers to help with for pole picking (Saturday), dressage writing (Saturday) and dressage score sheet collecting (Saturday and Sunday). For information and to register interest, contact Lucy Slater at tweseldownvolunteers@gmail.com

    BE chief executive Rosie Williams said: “What a great show of teamwork with Tweseldown stepping in at late notice to give our members the chance to compete this weekend.”

    The wet spring has punched a hole in many people’s calendars.

    Northallerton (1), which was also due to run this weekend (23 to 24 March), has also been scuppered by the weather. BE is working with organisers to see if it can reschedule the fixture “to make sure that members have as many options to compete in the early part of the season as possible”.

    The popular Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day, which traditionally takes place on Good Friday (this year 29 March), has been called off with “bitter regret” as a result of flooded and unusable car parks.

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