'Disappointment' as Chatsworth horse trials cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 crisis
This year’s international horse trials at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire have been cancelled, as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions will not have eased sufficiently in time for the event to take place this summer.
Organisers of the Dodson and Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials which were scheduled to take place from May 14 to 16 said they were ‘hugely disappointed’ to announce today announced that the event has been cancelled.
The equestrian event is one of Chatsworth’s most popular attractions, but as restrictions on outdoor gatherings will not be relaxed any earlier than May 17, the event has been postponed.
While lockdown measures will ease in May to allow outdoor gatherings to take place – numbers will be capped and household mixing restricted.
Organises said the decision to cancel the annual event was taken in the interests of safety and to provide certainty for exhibitors, volunteers, spectators and competitors and the trials will instead be held next year.
Horse Trials Director Patricia Clifton said: “Like so many other events, the challenges we face this year are very similar to those we experienced in 2020.
“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.
“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.
"Another significant issue was the impossibility of us, or to our knowledge any events, obtaining insurance against the pandemic.
“We very much look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2022 for the usual wonderful weekend of competition and entertainment.”
The Duchess of Devonshire 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.”
Dodson and Horrell’s Managing Director Sam Horrell added: “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.”
Subject to confirmation from British Eventing, the next Dodson and Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials event will take place on May 13–15, 2022.
Chatsworth Garden and the estate farm shop remain open for those who live locally while the farmyard, gift shops and outdoor catering are scheduled to reopen on April 12 – in line with other non-essential retail.
The stately home’s house and indoor catering will also be available again on May 17 and all tickets to Chatsworth House must be booked online in advance.