The East Cheshire branch committee met at 5.30 p.m. today, Friday the 1st July to discuss the decision to cancel the 2016 Cheshire Shield Horse Trials incorporating the Area 4 & 5 Qualifying competitions.

The committee recognised that the decision to cancel the event on Wednesday was, even with the benefit of hindsight, the right one given the heavy downpours we are still experiencing in this area. Our understanding is that the experience is shared with many other parts of the country.


It was also agreed that we must, if at all possible, try to put together a competition which would enable some members to qualify for the Championships. This meant that the time available within which to organise such a competition was limited, given the Championships begin in 7 weeks’ time.


The major problem then became the running of the cross country phase of the competition. Assuming the XC course would become available again from a safety point of view, we were told by Somerford that the course was only available from now until about the 23rd/24th July since they had an international event booked for the 19th August and the course would need at least 4 weeks to recover in time for that event. In fact that weekend already accommodates both the Area 4 and Area 5 Dressage competitions. Therefore the only available weekend would be the 16th/17th July – just 14 days hence.


We concluded that, even with a “potential qualifiers only” competition,  we would need to enrol at least 50 volunteers  to man the XC course alone and, given that it took 6 weeks to recruit the 88 volunteers for the cancelled event, there was no way we could be sure of achieving that objective – indeed, more likely than not we would fail which was not an acceptable risk.


On that basis, it would not be possible to run the cross country phase of the competition.


Given the timescale of just two weeks, we concluded that the best we could do would be to arrange a competition which involved both the dressage and show jumping elements of the competition and inform competitors that, whilst the results would be judged on those two phases only, it would be their responsibility to evidence to HQ that they had competed at the relevant level of cross country if they were to be allowed to compete at the Championships.


We do hope that this is an acceptable way forward to all and we have begun to make arrangements on this basis.


The date we have decided upon is Saturday the 16th July with the dressage and show jumping phases of the competition to be held on grass arenas at Somerford Park Farm.


Whilst this is far from an ideal solution, we fell it is the best one that could be reached in the circumstances. We await hearing from Pony Club Headquarters that this proposal is an acceptable one.


Geoff Bell

District Commissioner