It’s been rather a grim fortnight for eventing folks in the United Kingdom, with a plethora of international cancellations obliterating much of the spring and early summer calendar. And things don’t appear to be perking up with any urgency: on Friday, March 12, the team behind the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials, set to take place May 14–16, announced that they, too, had fallen victim to ongoing pandemic regulations.
“Like so many other events, the challenges we face this year are very similar to those we experienced in 2020,” explained Patricia Clifton, Horse Trials Director in a statement. “The government roadmap out of the pandemic provides many reasons for hope, but it has been made very clear that the dates given are ‘best case’ and subject to change. As a result. we do not feel that we can guarantee the high standards of safety and quality that we usually would, not only to everyone directly involved but also the local area, which is always so supportive.”
Chatsworth, which hosts classes through CCI4*-S, including, in better years, a leg of the Event Rider Masters series, is a hugely popular fixture – a fact evidenced by its annual flood of entries, which make a spot at the Derbyshire competition especially highly-coveted. It’s also a valuable stepping stone to long-format competitions – and its loss represents another huge blow for riders aiming for Tokyo this summer.
“It is desperately sad that we have to cancel for the second year in succession, especially as we have been working really hard with all stakeholders, including British Eventing, to find some sort of solution, but it has proved a challenge too far,” continued the statement. “Another significant issue was the impossibility of us, or to our knowledge any events, obtaining insurance against the pandemic.”
The Duchess of Devonshire, who so generously opens her estate each year to the wider community, commented, “I am extremely grateful to Patricia and her team for the time and energy they have put in to try and enable this year’s event to go ahead. This decision was not an easy one, however, throughout the pandemic the health and wellbeing of our visitors, colleagues, partners and local communities has always been our number one priority, and this remains the case.”
Title sponsor Dodson & Horrell’s Managing Director, Sam Horrell said: “While we are naturally disappointed that this fantastic event will not take place in 2021, we are very thankful to everyone at Chatsworth who have worked tirelessly over the past few months to try and make the horse trials happen. We instead look to the future and very much look forward to the 2022 event.”
The 2022 iteration is set to take place from May 13-15, subject to confirmation from British Eventing. In the meantime, British-based riders will need to get creative as they grapple to plot their roads to Tokyo and beyond – though some savvy organisers may have a solution up their sleeves. Keep it locked onto EN for all the updates.