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Houghton horse trials cancelled because of coronavirus

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The Houghton International Horse Trials has become the latest event to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, which had been due to take place from May 21 to 24, traditionally attracts many of the world's top riders to the spectacular surroundings of Houghton Hall.

But, with British eventing joining many other sports in shutting down because of the outbreak, officials were left with little choice but to cancel.

Houghton Horse Trials..Imogen Murray riding Shannondale Vintage... (11187906)
Houghton Horse Trials..Imogen Murray riding Shannondale Vintage... (11187906)

The Burnham Market International, which had been scheduled to take place in its traditional Easter slot this weekend, was cancelled last month.

Houghton estate land agent Robert Miller said: "This decision, as hard as it is to call, was the socially responsible, unavoidable and correct course of action.

"A great deal of hard work, love and creativity goes into the planning of any event, making the decision to cancel a very hard one, but considering the current crisis facing the country the decision was clear.”

The announcement followed the recent cancellation of major events such as Wimbledon, while the Tokyo Olympics have also been postponed until next year.

Alec Lochore, manager of the event's organisers, Musketeer Event Management, is also the eventing competition manager for the Olympics, which are now due to begin on July 23, 2021.

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the lives of us all. Whether my small team in Norfolk who plan events such as Houghton or the larger team I work with on a daily basis in Tokyo, we have to stop and take stock.

"In unprecedented times we need to work together to support the healthcare workers around the world and adhere to the measures taken by world leaders and sporting governing bodies to help stop the spread of the virus to protect and save lives.

“I would like to thank all competitors, owners, sponsors, officials and much heralded volunteers for their continued support as we look ahead positively to 2021.”

Full refunds will be issued for all tickets purchased through the box office and any payments made for trade stands. Customers are asked to allow 14 days for payments to be processed. Any queries should be directed to info@musketeer.co.uk.

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