Exhibitors at this week’s Royal Windsor Horse Show were turned away at the gates today (Wednesday, May 11) as the day’s classes were cancelled due to heavy overnight rain.
The organisers announced: “Wednesday’s show is cancelled due to flooding in the public car park and the lorry parks. The rain is expected to clear by lunchtime and tomorrow’s events are planned to go ahead as usual.”
Inevitably, there were complaints, but most people — having seen the state of the lorry parks — were fairly stoic.
Lisha Leeman, who has a full team competing this year, returned to her Essex base, saying: “I know it’s disappointing that Royal Windsor is cancelled today, and maybe even for the rest of the week, but I wouldn’t risk the safety of my horses and riders for anything, they mean far too much to me.”
Robert Walker, who has enjoyed a phenomenal run in the hunter classes that are traditionally held on Windsor Wednesday, was also philosophical, saying at least he still had the reigning champion — last year’s victor, Pride Of Place.
“There was what can only be described as a monsoon all night,” he reported. “I got up to ride-in for our classes that start at 7.15am, but I have to say you couldn’t ask a horse to do its best in this.”
Nina Armstrong, who has show cobs with producer Ian Smeeth, added: “It was a wise decision [to cancel] and one not made lightly. They [the organisers] are better to preserve the ground and hopefully run later on this week, rather than turn the place into a quagmire on day one.”
In the washout spring of 2012, several classes at Windsor on the Friday were cancelled to preserve the ground for the weekend, which proved a success. Let’s hope the same applies this year.