International eventing fixtures at Rockingham and Withington have been cancelled in May owing to continued uncertainty over the Covid-19 situation.
Withington Manor International, Glos, was scheduled for 1-2 May, with classes up to advanced plus a CCI2*-S, including a pony section.
Organisers Bruno and Fiona Brenninkmeijer-McKenzie said it is “deeply disappointing” for their three-man team that prepares the estate for the horse trials, as the fixture marks the transition into another agriculture year.
“We also recognise that our decision will have an effect upon our loyal contractors, competitors, sponsors and volunteers without whom we are not in a position to present Withington in the best possible light year after year,” they said.
“All have been flexible in their offers of help this year for which we are most grateful. Hopefully by making this decision now this will allow sufficient time for some to make alternative arrangements.
“We are looking forward to 2022 where we can once again deliver the competition to our usual standard.”
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The Fairfax & Favor Rockingham Castle International Horse Trials in Northamptonshire was due to run 21-23 May, with a CCI2&3*-S alongside national classes.
A statement from organisers said that while the Government roadmap is cause for optimism, that timetable is “still very fragile and subject to change” and that “it is simply not possible to deliver the event safely and in a way the team would want within these parameters”.
Organiser Lizzie Saunders Watson added the team is “deeply disappointed”.
“The horse trials are part of the lifeblood of the Rockingham estate and our whole team has felt the loss of this much-loved event,” she said.
“We would like to extend our warmest thanks to our volunteers, supporters and sponsors, including our title sponsor, Fairfax & Favor, who have been unwavering in their support during these challenging times.
“Horses have played a huge part in our family life, so we can fully appreciate the disappointment felt across the equestrian community at the loss of our event and many others like it over the last year.
“Whether you are a child taking part in Pony Club activities, a rider dedicated to achieving their goals or an enthusiast bringing a picnic to share with friends, it has been so difficult not to be able to enjoy the things that we love most about our wonderful sport.
“It is so important to safeguard the future of these events and we cannot wait to be able to welcome everyone back to the Great Park next year. We are extremely excited to be celebrating 950 years of the castle’s rich and captivating history in 2022 and we look forward to the horse trials being right at the heart of these celebrations.”
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