Cancelling the Horse Trials is the most depressing thing I have had to do in all the time I have been at Badminton; the only saving grace was that it was in a sense an easy decision, or at least the only possible one! We have had another 15 – 20mm of rain since Monday evening, so conditions are now even worse. The weather forecasters were right when they said there would be no chance of the ground drying out this week.
The Park is totally waterlogged, with standing flood water in many places. Ironically, the cross country course and the main arena are probably the best ground here. However, it would have been completely impossible to have got cars in or out of the car parks, tradestand lorries into position, toilets serviced, horse or human ambulances around the courses…….
While the organising team is pretty devastated to see a year’s work go to waste, we really feel for all the people who were so looking forward to Badminton. The riders first and foremost, but then all the trade stands, the spectators, many of whom would have travelled miles and even across oceans, the local businesses for whom this week means so much.
Of course we considered a postponement. Putting things back by a day or even two is conceivable – but wouldn’t have been enough to make the difference. Putting this event on later in the summer is sadly impossible. It takes 2 months to build up the site and a month to take it down. The event has so many ‘stakeholders’ all of whom have to be in place to make it work. Riders, trade stands, grandstand, tentage and all our other contractors and of course spectators. To find an alternative date when all could come together again is inconceivable.
When we wake up from this bad dream we will start planning for 2013!