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Update: Bloomfields Horseboxes CDI 3* International Dressage 1024 536 Daniel Shires

Update: Bloomfields Horseboxes CDI 3* International Dressage

24th May 2022

Unfortunately, we have had to make the tough decision to cancel the Bloomfields Horseboxes CDI 3* International Dressage event, which was due to take place at Bolesworth from the 24th to the 26th of June 2022.

Our plan for this year was to replicate our successful show jumping shows for dressage, but sadly, with the rising costs of staging world class events, current circumstances have resulted in reduced numbers that affect the commercial viability of the show and, consequently, we have little choice but to cancel. While we did have plenty of interest and support from dressage riders who were keen to compete at Bolesworth, at both national and international level, our model for equestrian events is heavily reliant on public ticket sales and hospitality, not just entries, and the challenges of the current economic climate have inevitably affected both of these areas.

However, we are working closely with British Dressage and British Equestrian to see if there is a way of incorporating a condensed version of the CDI 3* Big Tour classes at the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show in order to retain this valuable opportunity for international riders.  We are in consultation with the FEI and will be contacting those riders affected directly in due course.

We thank BD, the Federation, our many supporters and sponsors for working with us, and we are disappointed that we won’t be able to deliver the event this year as planned. A member of the Bolesworth team will contact all the people who have entered the event or booked tickets, hospitality, or trade stands to arrange full refunds.

Unfortunately, the cancellation of the dressage has also forced the cancellation of the Elite Dressage Auction due to take place on Saturday 25th June.

Nina Barbour, managing director at Bolesworth said: “We apologise for those of you who have the Bolesworth Dressage event in your calendar and were looking forward to attending, especially those riders entered, who we know make plans well in advance, and really do understand the disappointment that this decision will cause.  The Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show (29 June – 3 July), and the Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships (10 – 14 August), are firmly fixed on the calendar. We look forward to welcoming riders, visitors, our sponsors, trade stands and supporters to both events.”

Jason Brautigam, British Dressage CEO, comments: “We are of course incredibly disappointed that Bolesworth has had to take the unenviable decision to cancel this year’s International Dressage event, but completely understand that we are all operating in a difficult economic environment.  These commercial challenges are currently being faced by event organisers across the sport, leisure and entertainment sector, so it’s certainly not specific to dressage, but unfortunately, we are not immune to those wider market forces beyond our control.

“In partnership with Bolesworth, we will work with the BEF and FEI to determine whether we can reschedule the Big Tour classes, as we know these CDI opportunities are vitally important for our international riders competing for selection and thank Nina and her team for their support.”

Bolesworth Managing Director Nina Barbour with Horse
Bolesworth MD Speaks to Horse & Hound 1024 536 Daniel Shires

Bolesworth MD Speaks to Horse & Hound

“Safety shouldn’t be about ego, it’s about minimising risk.”

That’s the view of Nina Barbour, Managing Director of Bolesworth in a recent opinion piece for Horse & Hound. Nina’s article for the renowned equestrian publication and website was published on 6 April 2022; you can read it in-full below.

“I’ve just returned from the (actually quite wet!) Sunshine Tour in Spain where I bumped into Angelie von Essen – a great friend and top rider/business woman – who was wearing an air jacket. The next thing I did was to invest in one myself.

“Safety was brought into sharp focus for me in the aftermath of tragic accidents last year involving close friends and other than the unforgivable thought – ‘Will my air jacket make me look fat?’ – I urged myself to remember that safety shouldn’t be about ego, it’s about minimising risk.

“I overheard one official saying that wearing hats for hind-boot checks should be made compulsory by the FEI – nothing stopped her from putting that hat on, but she continued her job without. It’s our duty to remind people that horses on the ground are at their most dangerous and need respect.

“Grooms are often at most risk, so it is equally our duty as employers to make sure they’re provided with safety gear and we listen to their concerns. I feel strongly that there’s more to do as show organisers, employers and federations to limit risk and increase awareness.”

The Importance of Facilities

“MY dreams very nearly came true in Spain – jumping two ranking classes with unlucky mistakes. My ambition is a top-10 place, although
that’s a tough goal! Could I have achieved these results back home this winter? Unlikely. The incredible facilities on the Sunshine Tour allowed me to build up confidence over several weeks, meaning I punched above my normal weight in terms of performance.

“There has been discussion recently about certain UK venues hosting international shows that have not been well supported and it’s hugely important we understand why. I strongly believe that there is a straightforward formula to make an international venue work.

“Both arena and warm-up arenas need to be big enough, the surfaces need to be good – with not too much wax and the course-builder needs to test – and be horse- and rider-friendly. Good infrastructure is needed for parking, stabling and owners’ facilities.

“This comes with huge expense, but results in venues that support production of horses for the top sport. If we can achieve enough international dates at UK venues fitting these criteria, then maybe we can start reversing the extent of the outward migration of UK riders to Europe.”

The Opportunity is Now

“I am in awe of the Global Champions Tour, which John Whitaker rightly likened to the ‘equivalent of Formula 1’ in showjumping. It leaves a huge opportunity for our industry to feed that machine.

“Given that UK living costs and international travel costs have risen exponentially in the past 12 months, both due to Brexit and global unrest, I believe that the opportunity is now for showjumping here in the UK.

“Our team is working hard to find a formula to deliver more international sport – could we look at a three-week tour in 2023? We are crunching the numbers and would appreciate feedback. We understand our shows are expensive for participants, not helped by rising costs of infrastructure, and are working hard to make the experience the best it can be.

“It’s important to understand that many shows – including those often referred to by Nick Skelton in his H&H columns – seen as the most aspirational to attend in Europe often run at six- or seven-figure losses, and don’t need to be commercial to be sustainable.

“We remain committed to showjumping at Bolesworth and optimistic that we can play a part in shaping the next chapter for British Showjumping. But I would urge all involved to support venue owners willing to invest to really understand what good looks like.”