Two major horse trials in Scotland face closure after their venues have announced they can no longer accommodate such events.
Central Scotland Horse Trials (CSHT) had to cancel its two-day competition in August due to ground damage in the parklands of Scone Palace where the trials have been held for 22 years.
The Earl of Mansfield, who is the current owner of the estate just outside Perth, has since decided to withdraw its support of any CSHT events in the future.
"The committee are really surprised and disappointed to have been given notice that Scone Palace are no longer willing to accommodate Central Scotland Horse Trials,” said CSHT organiser James Oakden.
They are currently looking for an alternative venue so that they can continue to run the horse trials in 2013.
“It is devastating to the British Evening calendar to lose two fixtures at such a fantastic venue,” James added. “Please do get in contact with us if you think you can offer a site, or have any suggestions. Time is very tight!”
One rider closely affected by the closure of both events is Caroline Mosley from Blyth Bridge in Peeblesshire. She has regularly attended both BE and unaffiliated events held by CSHT and also volunteered at many of its competitions.
“Everyone I know is devasted,” she told H&C. “I’m also really gutted for the organisers as it was well known as being one of the best BE events in Scotland. The course was testing and up to height. Now I’ll have to go further afield to compete which means added costs in terms of diesel and stabling.”
Another event shutting down following a very soggy summer is Balcarres international horse trials. It held its first four-day show in June and Lady Balniel of Balcarres Estate has since decided it will be the last.
“We had a fantastic time running the event at short notice and we believe the horse trials were a success,” she said. “Unfortunately we were totally undone by the weather and these conditions have had such an impact on the estate that it is with deep regret we have had to take this decision.”
Caroline was entered for the final day of the show in June, but it was cancelled last minute after the three-day event took its toll on the ground.
“We’ve lost so many events over the last few years in Scotland,” said Caroline. “My worry is that other estates will hear of these events shutting down and follow suit because of the damage to their land.”