ORGANISERS of the much-vaunted Osborne Horse Trials, scheduled to take place at Osborne House later this month, have pulled the plug on the event — blaming the decision on the lack of entries.

Last year’s inaugural event — which showcased the adrenalin of cross-country, the elegance of dressage and the drama of showjumping — was deemed by BEDE Events, the company behind it, a huge success, in terms of tickets sold and the calibre of riders who entered.

But unlike last year, when the field included international stars, such as GB’s Oliver Townend and Australian Olympic champion, Andrew Hoy, only 25 entered this time around.

Isle of Wight County Press: Some of the cross-country riding at last year’s Osborne Horse Trials. Photo: BEDE EventsSome of the cross-country riding at last year’s Osborne Horse Trials. Photo: BEDE Events

Hoy, Piggy French, this year’s Badminton winner, and Tom McEwen, the new Grantham Cup winner, were among those committed to this year’s trials.

BEDE say they needed to attract at least 50 riders to make it an event that would meet the expectations of spectators on the Isle of Wight.

“We worked hard to deliver the event again this year,” said a BEDE spokesman.

“However, we found ourselves in a position where there were not enough entries for the competition and did not feel we could continue with it if we did not have enough competitors to provide good sport for two days.

“Last year, the feedback was phenomenal, as was the support from the Island and its community,” BEDE added.

“The trials introduced many new people to eventing, so we’re very keen for this to be a long term project on the Island.

“We will discuss with riders a time of year that better suits them, given many are focused on qualifying for championships right now.”

Sarah Holmes, 28, of Rookley, the Isle of Wight’s only four-star rider, planned to take part in this year’s Osborne Horse Trials, having competed in the 2018 event.

She said: “I am absolutely gutted. After last year’s success, so many on the Island were looking forward to it again.

“The support I had last year was amazing and not being able to compete on home soil is so disappointing.

“I hope there will be another Osborne Horse Trials.”

Diana Bown, Island resident and chairman of the Osborne Horse Trials, believes riders need to be wooed back to the event.

“The loss of such a wonderful sporting event for the Island is hugely disappointing,” she said.

“We will work hard to encourage riders back to Osborne next year.”

British Eventing’s chief executive Jude Mathews said he was extremely disappointed with the decision to cancel, especially after so much work had gone into planning such a major event.

Event director, Stuart Buntine, said he was “absolutely devastated” — especially having worked so hard to ensure they built on the success of last year’s trials.

“The Island community had really embraced the event. Unfortunately, it is not possible to continue if we do not have a field of competitors.”

For ticket refund information, contact the BEDE Events box office on