Equestrian: Tattersalls International Horse Trials will not be held this year

Popular event in Co Meath added to the list of cancelled or postponed events

After the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games, for which Ireland has three equestrian teams qualified for the first time, the list of cancelled or postponed competitions at home was added to on Thursday afternoon when it was announced that the Tattersalls International Horse Trials would not be held this year.

The event, which was due to take place from May 27th to 31st, annually attracts the leading Irish and British riders, as well as many of the top overseas competitors based in Britain. However, a statement released by the organisers of the Co Meath event confirmed the cancellation which many believed inevitable.

“Following on from the Government’s increasing Covid-19 public health restrictions we are sorry to announce that it is no longer possible to stage the Tattersalls International Horse Trials in any capacity between 27 and 31 May 2020.

“These are extraordinary and demanding times for everyone and the health and safety of all those that attend and are involved with Tattersalls remains our overriding priority. Please be assured that the Tattersalls International Horse Trials operates a refund policy and we will be in contact in due course with more information on how these will be processed accordingly.


“This decision has not been taken lightly and we are conscious at all times of our dual responsibility to the requirements of the many stakeholders involved in the Tattersalls International Horse Trials and the wider public health issues which have overtaken normal daily life throughout the world.

“Tattersalls International Horse Trials would like to take this opportunity to thank and wish all of our regular participants, sponsors, exhibitors, supporters and volunteers well through this challenging time.”

While the cancellation was widely expected, if their horses weren’t already qualified, riders would have found it almost impossible at this stage to attain the standards as there is no national eventing in Ireland or Britain at present.

The Tattersalls International Horse Trials are run in conjunction with a country fair which was always well attended in spite of clashing with Bloom in the Phoenix Park, which itself was cancelled on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, the Fell family, who organise two international events as well as numerous national competitions at their Ballindenisk farm in Watergrasshill, Co Cork, pulled the plug on the first of their internationals which had been scheduled for April 23rd to 26th. This is a big, if not unexpected, blow for the organisers who have made a major investment in a very large all-weather arena which can cater for a variety of equestrian sports.

All national one-day events, up to and including April 26th, have been cancelled as have the high-profile internationals Kentucky (April 22nd to 25th) and Badminton (May 6th to 10th) while Aachen (June 1st to 7th) has been postponed. The German venue was also due to stage international show jumping and dressage and these two disciplines have seen the cancellation of such top international fixtures as the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas (April 14th to 19th) and the postponement of Hickstead’s Al Shira’aa fixture (June 24th to 28th).

At home, the Millstreet International Welcome Tour in Co Cork (April 1st to 5th) has been cancelled as, in line with Government policy, have all national show jumping and dressage competitions including Dressage Ireland’s national winter finals (April 4th and 5th).

Many agricultural shows, which often feature horse and pony showing classes for ridden and in-hand animals, as well as show jumping, have already been cancelled or postponed. Top among these is Balmoral Show which was due to take place from May 13th to 16th but now has a new date of August 19th to 22nd.

Around the country, owners, riders and breeders are anxiously awaiting news of the Dublin Horse Show which, in order to avoid clashing with the Olympic Games in Tokyo, was brought forward by a month this year to July 15th to 19th. Qualifiers for the show are due to start on April 25th.