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July 10, 2012

Gatcombe Cancellation Disrupts Eventers’ Plans

The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, England, has been canceled due to unprecedented rainfall. The event, scheduled for July 13-15, was to be the site of the British Open Championships for novice, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as the final outing for the Canadian Olympic Team. American riders Sinead Halpin, Marilyn Little-Meredith and Boyd Martin had planned to ride, as well as U.S.-based Thai rider Nina Ligon, who is preparing to compete at the Olympic Games.

“The unprecedented rainfall over the last month has produced exceptionally wet ground conditions. Due to the continuing unsettled weather we are unable to safely continue the preparations for the Festival,” said co-organizer Capt. Mark Phillips in a statement on The Festival’s website. “We know that riders and spectators will be disappointed—especially as so many events have been canceled already this year. We did everything possible to ensure that the event took place but sadly the hard-working ground crew at Gatcombe Park have been defeated by the weather."

Canadian team coach David O’Connor said that the cancellation hasn’t had a negative effect on his team's preparations for the Olympics.

“We weren’t planning on running a lot of the cross-country anyway. Everyone was probably going to run the first six to 10 fences, then come back,” he said. “We’re doing a dressage show and a jumper show this weekend and a dressage show on Tuesday. It really doesn’t have a major effect. It’s not a huge deal.”

The Canadian horses arrived in England on July 9, and the team will concentrate on training until the start of the Games. “It’s 13 days until we ship into the site, so it’s going to be a mixture of working on our skill sets and a couple gallops,” O’Connor said.

 
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