2019 Pony Club Championships cancelled
Young riders work hard throughout the year to hone their skills for competition. The biggest event in the calendar is the with youngsters travelling from across the country to compete. But this year, equestrians have been left in shock following the cancellation of championships.
Last minute decision
Just four days before the championships were due to begin, the Pony Club announced that they were to be abandoned. Scheduled for 16-20 August, the event could not take place due to the extreme weather over the preceding weekend. Heavy rainfall added to the issues caused by an already wet summer and left the venue waterlogged.
The venue for the 2019 championships, in Cheshire, had been inundated with unseasonal rain, leaving the grounds awash. The stables and parking area had become inaccessible and with more rain forecast, it simply wasn’t possible to proceed with the competition. The Championship Committee was forced to take the terrible decision to cancel. It simply wouldn’t have been safe or practical to proceed.
The committee attempted to find another suitable venue where the championships could be held safely, but at such short notice, this wasn’t possible.
Thousands of riders disappointed
More than 3,000 horses and ponies plus 10,000 people were expected to be moving on and off site at Cholmondeley during the week. This would have resulted in a nightmare and possibly many accidents with the grounds being completely waterlogged. The decision to cancel was made on the Monday in the hope that competitors could be advised before they had begun their journey to the event.
Left out of pocket
The Pony Club has been left with the unenviable task of negotiating with suppliers to mitigate the costs incurred. There is a possibility that entrants could receive at least a partial refund of their fees. The fees charged were up to £104.50 per rider. Those who have already incurred travelling and accommodation costs will definitely be left out of pocket.
This isn’t the first time that the championships have been cancelled and it probably won’t be the last. Climate change is leading the UK to experience more frequent episodes of extreme weather and these can strike at any time, including the height of summer. No area of the country is immune from the weather systems and so it is impossible to choose a venue which would be safe from excessive rainfall. Here’s hoping 2020 will be a better year?
Have you been affected by the cancellation? If so, how are you feeling and what expenses have you incurred?