So near and yet so, so far. The days are longer, the sun had made a few determined appearances, and the official start of the British eventing season was cresting the horizon. We’d made it. Spring had, in fact, sprung.
Turns out everyone had spoken – and entered – too soon. All four BE affiliated events set to run this weekend (3-4 March) announced their regrettable abandonment this morning, with each venue besieged by a rare and relentless snowfall, courtesy of ‘the Beast from the East’. Catchy name, right? If you live in the UK, it’s likely to be all you’ve thought or spoken about for the last six days. If you don’t, you’re missing out on a polar vortex bringing Siberian winds to our poor, bedraggled island. Temperatures have hit a new low for this winter, and even those riders who can actually find their arenas in the snow aren’t guaranteed a ride, with frozen ground and arctic blasts forming a particularly potent combination.›
In adverse weather conditions, BE event organisers aim to leave the hard decision to abandon until the day prior, hedging their bets that, perhaps, the weather could turn and the event could still go ahead. In this case, however, there’s nothing that can be done, and all hopes must turn to next weekend’s fixtures at Oasby, Poplar, and Tweseldown, instead. Not that this is a terrible consolation prize for the casual collecting ring lurker, to be fair — the OI sections at each read like a who’s-who of four-star major players, with Ceylor LAN, Star Witness, Arctic Soul, Nobilis 18, Vanir Kamira, Don Geniro and Ballaghmor Class among those entered. Well worth a few hours in Storm Emma’s icy clutches.
In the meantime, a gaggle of (sensible) riders have ventured to Portugal’s Barroca d’Alva, which hosts CIC* and CIC** sections this weekend and CCI*, CCI and CIC**, and CCI and CIC3* sections next weekend.
Go eventing (if you can), and go (away) snow … please.