National Trust scraps horse trials which Royals have ridden in for 40

Zara Tindall has ridden at Belton Horse Trials in the past We are devastated at the loss of Belton International Horse Trials. This decision was announced to us yesterday and came as a shock to the whole team.Our statement is attached— Bede Events (@bedeevents) April 30, 2019 The National Trust has scrapped a prestigious horse trials event in which Royals have competed in for 40 years citing concerns for earthworms.The Belton Horse Trials is looking for a new home after officials said horse hooves treading on worms and other “soil loving creatures” means the ground could become boggy and waterlogged.Worms play a vital role as aerators of soil, and helping grassland grow.The decision came as organisers of the three-day international event at the Lincolnshire stately home of Belton House began planning its 40th anniversary celebrations for 2020.This year’s horse show, which attracted around 20,000 people to the 1,300 acre site in March, attracted a top field, including Olympic riders Pippa Funnell, Laura Collett and Piggy French. In 2017, Zara Tindall took a runners-up spot.However, the National Trust said the very “size and scale” of the event in Grantham is “now at odds” with conservation at the Grade I listed site.British Eventing claimed that the “difficult decision” to put the event to bed was “very disappointing” and the local authority, South Kesteven District Council, added that the trials make a “significant contribution” to the local economy. Zara Tindall has ridden at Belton Horse Trials in the pastCredit:PA Despite calls of concern, Ian Cooper, general manager at Belton House stood by the National Trust’s decision.He said: “Unfortunately, it has come to a point where we can’t carry on.”Mr Cooper said horse hooves and large vehicles had caused significant soil compaction across parts of the Grade I listed parkland, impacting wildlife and historic trees.He added: “We recognise the significance of the Horse Trials and their place in Belton’s recent history, and have therefore not come to this decision lightly.“The core purpose of the National Trust is to protect this historic place for future generations, and we must honour that commitment.”Belton House was gifted to the National Trust in 1983 after it was built for Sir John Brownlow in the 1680s. “Surely the National Trust have a responsibility to protect such events and build awareness of the countryside for the nation.  A more rounded organisation is one that listens to its members and the public and is strong in character.” North Lincolnshire Riding Club also spoke of the loss to the area. “It is a huge loss for the Lincolnshire equestrian community after so many years being able to watch the best competitors at the top of their sport,” said Mrs Gale, the club’s secretary. “We can only hope that another fairly accessible venue can be sourced so we don’t have to always travel miles to enjoy the sport.”Mother-of-three Rachel Good, who travelled to Belton House with her teenage daughter who competed in the equestrian event this year, told The Telegraph she is disappointed that they won’t be returning soon.She said: “We went for the first time this year, it was an absolutely brilliant and beautiful event. “I’m very sad that we can’t go back and I feel desperately sorry for the organisers who had no notice of the decision. “It is very special to compete and use a wonderful and historic landscape through our sport and leisure activity. By doing this, the National Trust are making a facility stand even more still in time.”Another self-professed equestrian supporter, Jo Mawditt, said she has contacted the National Trust to complain and urged them to reconsider the decision.“This event is a highlight of not only the eventing calendar but also supports the local economy, as well as gives the general public the opportunity to experience the thrill of man and horse in harmony,” Ms Mawditt said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

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