After a recent competition was abandoned due to very heavy rainfall, it occurred to me, reading the accusatory comments on social media, that many riders seem to be a bit ill-informed, and frustration and blame sometimes get directed towards the wrong people.
The Organiser and their team have been working for many months to set up the event, and the last thing they need are recriminations at the already gutting point of cancellation or abandonment!
On the other hand, Borde Hill soldiered on last weekend in the teeth of horrid weather (as did Tweseldown, for example, last year) and both events received criticism on social media for NOT cancelling, because many competitors withdrew due to the muddy conditions.
It is never solely up to the venue/organiser to cancel, or not; the decision is made by the BE Officials, based on whether the paramedics and horse ambulances can definitely get safely and quickly to EVERY fence on the XC.
So, although other areas may be fine, and you might well look at the ground in the lorry park, or the dressage or show-jumping arenas, and think it could easily have run, full vehicular accessibility to the entire xc is the (potentially quite literally) vital rule to which they have to stick.
To be honest I think we should all be very glad that they are so rigorous. A worst-case scenario fall, plus a bogged-down ambulance (horse or human), just doesn’t bear thinking about.
When the XC stays accessible, I personally think it’s great that events carry on. Horses need to learn to cope with all conditions. (Badminton this year proved that! Those who had run at Bicton in deep going were glad of the practice they’d had.) Of course if someone’s horse is green, really needs a very confidence-giving run, or particularly hates deep going, that’s a very different matter, and I’d withdraw that one just as I’d withdraw one that hates firm ground. But there are those which will cope fine with it, and they shouldn’t be denied their run.
Please spare a thought for the Organiser (and/or Land Owner) in these cases too. The damage done by lorries can be shocking. It cost £40k, 20 years ago (!!!) to level out a particular event’s lorry park field, because the 2’+ deep ruts left after towing multiple horseboxes in and out of the lorry park (as deep as their axles sometimes) had to be remedied by JCBs, and took weeks. Tractor and rollers had no effect. It’s very difficult to break even on an event after that sort of huge unforeseen cost.
Let’s all hope for better weather for the rest of the season, and no more days enduring deep mud and driving rain!