The past few days have been something of a whirlwind. The unilateral decision by the National Trust to end the licence for operating Belton Horse Trials was a complete shock to everyone at BEDE Events. Without warning, 39 years of equestrian sporting history came to an end.
Over the past 15 years we have consulted, collaborated and diligently worked with The National Trust to be a good partner and to stage a sustainable event. The Trust’s decision to terminate the licence to run the horse trials was taken without any consultation or involvement with BEDE. There was no attempt by The National Trust to discuss or remedy any concerns they had at any time over the past 12 months. In fact, no concerns were ever raised.
The National Trust made a public announcement regarding its decision less than 24 hours after notifying us. This gave BEDE practically no time to inform and discuss the matter with the sport, sponsors and commercial partners.
BEDE Events prides itself on its sustainable and progressive approach to running equestrian events. Belton Horse Trials had a sustainability record second to none. Over 98% of all refuse was recycled and we work continuously to look at sustainability around all areas of the event. As a country-loving, family business, BEDE Events takes extraordinary care, whatever the cost, to preserve and protect all land and facilities where our events are held. Owner of Aske Hall, The Earl of Ronaldshay, said “BEDE Events organises outstanding events and has taken consummate care here at Aske Hall. Everyone at Aske Hall looks forward to welcoming BEDE back to Aske this year.”
Stuart Buntine, managing Director of BEDE Events said “This came as a huge shock. In business we are used to collaboration, openness and consultation if there is an issue. That’s how our partners operate. I’m sorry to say that The National Trust did none of that when making their decision.
“However, we remain committed to safeguarding the future of The Spring Championships and we have already been approached by a significant number of potential venues, which is very encouraging. We would like to thank the local community and the equestrian community for their overwhelming support since this decision was announced.”
The Belton Horse Trials were started in 1980 by Lord Brownlow, prior to the National Trust’s ownership. Since then they have remained at Belton House for 39 years, but will now continue at a new venue in 2020.
Photo : Piggy French aboard Cooley Monsoon winning the Open Intermediate Sec.K. Photo courtesy of Tim Wilkinson