Badminton Horse Trials: Covid-19 restrictions force 2021 event to be cancelled

Cross-country competition from the 2019 Badminton Horse Trials
Badminton organisers had originally hoped to stage the 2021 competition behind closed doors

Ongoing uncertainty around the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions have forced Badminton Horse Trials organisers to cancel this year's competition.

The four-day event was due to be held behind closed doors between 6 and 9 May in south Gloucestershire.

Last year's competition was also cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's very sad we've had to cancel for two years running, but there was no choice," Badminton director Jane Tuckwell told BBC Radio Wiltshire.

This year's event was set to be a key focus for selectors prior to the delayed Tokyo Olympics and would have featured dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

"We really hope things can improve over the coming months and we can return with a big bang in 2022," added Tuckwell.

"Back in October, we hoped with great optimism to be able to operate behind closed doors. We left the decision until now because this is the latest we could decide not to run in order to meet the riders' expectations and put in infrastructure.

"But the event is located in very close proximity to the village and we feel the whole situation is very fragile still.

"Sadly, after much consultation with Public Health England and South Gloucestershire Council, behind closed doors was still not feasible."

Local eventer Alicia Hawker admitted her disappointment of hearing of the cancellation.

"It's a real shame, as things were looking like they were starting to open back up again and excitement was building we could run Badminton behind closed doors," she said.

"There's Burleigh Horse Trials at the end of September, so the horse I would've been competing with at Badminton, we will now change his training schedule to work towards that."

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