ORGANISERS of one of the county's most prestigious eventing competitions announced it has been abandoned this year due to heavy rainfall.

Belsay International Horse Trials was due to take place at Belsay Castle from May 29 until June 2.

However, due to sustained rainfall, organisers announced the event would have to be abandoned. Since the initial announcement was made, a further update has been released stating that there will be no replacement event taking place at all this year.

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Laura de Wesselow, the organiser of Belsay Horse Trials, said: "Following an inspection this morning (May 27) by BE and FEI officials, it is with great sadness that we announce the abandonment of Belsay International Horse Trials 2024.

"After an unusually wet winter and spring, intermittently persistent (and sometimes torrential) rain over the last week has left the ground saturated with standing water across the site.

"Entrance gateways are already turning to mud and while we have looked at additional hardcore and even temporary tracking, it would be very difficult to get lorries and emergency vehicles on site safely. Furthermore, with standing water on the cross-country course and all around the show jumping arena, the event would be seriously compromised for competitors and spectators alike.

"With competitors, trade stands and officials due to start arriving on Tuesday (May 28), we have had to take this decision today to avoid people starting long journeys, only for the event to be cancelled later in the week. We certainly do not take this decision lightly, after 10 years of building the horse trials, with the help and support of all our sponsors, officials, contractors, volunteers and competitors.

"We are insured and will be processing refunds. Please bear with us while we deal with the insurance company.”

On May 29, Laura de Wesselow added: “Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to create a replacement event this year. Belsay Horse Trials has so many ‘moving parts’ with so many officials, judges, contractors, volunteers etc, that it’s almost impossible to rebook everyone, let alone get all our competitors, trade stands and sponsors back on a date that works for all. Rest assured we will be back, bigger and better for 2025."