The popular Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials is the latest Covid-19 casualty of the eventing season in Britain, with organisers finding the proposed conditions are “impossible to comply with on the Bramham site”.
Its cancellation is a disappointment for riders, especially following the recent cancellations of Badminton, Rockingham and Withington Manor.
Event Director Nick Pritchard said that while the government’s positive road map to exit lockdown, successful vaccine roll-out programme and falling case numbers provided some optimism that the event could run as scheduled from June 10 to 13, but the extent of the site “makes it unfeasible to completely control public access”.
“We’ve explored every avenue possible to keep Bramham 2021 in the calendar. However, the health, safety and welfare of all who are involved in the event, or come to watch it, is our number one priority and we just can’t guarantee that within the government’s rules,” Pritchard said.
“Due to the nature and scale of the event, it is impossible to enforce social distancing reasonably. The extent of the site makes it unfeasible to completely control public access. Sadly, a park isn’t the same as a stadium and whilst there’s plenty of space, we can’t guarantee social distancing in busy areas. We’re a 500-acre park with several footpaths crossing the estate and with spectator numbers limited to 4000, we can’t be confident on keeping to this.
“The team and I are deeply disappointed to admit defeat, despite our best efforts. Having missed last year and this being an Olympic year, when Bramham would have been important to many nations for team selection, we wanted to put on a memorable competition. Sadly we can’t guarantee a Covid-secure showground and feel it would be irresponsible to run.”
British Eventing has started the process for the replacement of the Withington Manor and Rockingham classes, and will start the process for replacing Bramham’s CCI4*-S, CC4*-L and CCI4*-L under 25 classes to an appropriate time in the fixtures calendar.