The End of an Era: Belton House Will No Longer Host Horse Trials

Tom Crisp’s Liberty and Glory competing at Belton. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

It was announced today that after nearly 40 years, Belton House will no longer host horse trials. The National Trust, who owns the property, has backed out from hosting the event in an effort to conserve the Lincolnshire estate.

“The growth in scale of the event is unfortunately now at odds with the conservation management of the Grade 1 listed parkland we care for; preventing risks to the historic earthworks and buried archaeology through compaction and erosion, to the parkland wildlife, and to veteran trees and their root systems,” The National Trust said in a statement.

“We recognise the significance of the Horse Trials and their place in Belton’s recent history, and have therefore not come to the decision lightly,” Ian Cooper, General Manger for the National Trust Belton House continued. “The core purpose of the National Trust is to protect this historic place for future generations, and we must honour that commitment.”

Event management are “devastated” at the announcement, and BEDE Events, who has put on the competition for the last 15 years, had no prior knowledge of the cancellation.

“This decision was announced to us yesterday and came as a shock to the whole team. We were unaware that the future of the horse trials was in jeopardy,” BEDE Events said in a statement. “Belton has been a key fixture for many riders in the lead up to Badminton and hosts one of the best 4* international classes in the country. BEDE Events have run the event for the past 15 years and seen the event grow to become the major Spring event.”

Horse trials have been hosted at Belton House for four decades, and their March fixture was one of the most popular events on the spring calendar with over 100 entries alone in this year’s CCI4*-S class.

BEDE Events is currently looking for a new host venue.