The Impact of Blair Castle's Cancellation on Scotland's Eventing Scene

The recent news of the cancellation of Blair Castle Horse Trials has sent ripples through Scotland's eventing community. The decision was a focal topic of discussion at the British Eventing (BE) Scotland Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 20th March, emphasising concerns over the future of the sport in Scotland.

As reported by H&H, this year’s event at Blair Castle will be the last. The land where the event takes place is increasing its involvement in regenerative agriculture, thus, demanding year-round environmentally compliant land management. This change has led to the abrupt end of an event that hosts international eventing from CCI* to CCI4*-L, the Scottish Grassroots Eventing Championships, showing and British Showjumping classes.

The Challenges Facing the Eventing Landscape

Alec Lochore, the Blair event director, argued that this cancellation wasn't a BE problem per se, but an eventing one. Lochore cited the nationwide changes in land management and farming, including changes to farm subsidies, as posing new challenges for everyone, including farmers, landowners, and the sport itself.

In the light of these challenges, the question was raised about whether a new Scottish venue could be found to "replicate the Blair experience". Lochore claimed it was neither a straightforward yes nor no answer and that a significant upfront investment would be required to match the extensive infrastructure present at Blair.

The Future of Eventing in Scotland

Equally realistic was Rosie Williams, BE's chief executive, who agreed with Lochore and noted how tricky it would be to replicate an event with 35 years of history. Instead, she optimistically suggested focusing on finding an "iconic event" suitable for Scotland and sustaining the attractiveness of such events for landowners alongside their agricultural pursuits.

Ms Williams emphasized the need to increase the number of good-quality events that are relevant to Scotland's membership. Efforts are also being made to find a replacement for the Scottish Grassroots Eventing Championships and to train more coaches in the region to help "develop the talent".

Concerns and Frustrations

Despite these hopeful undertones, several concerns were voiced at the AGM. These included the limited number of events, the lack of Scottish representation on the BE fixtures committee, and the glaring absence of intermediate or above classes in Scotland.

These conditions, attendees argued, leave Scottish riders with "nothing to aspire to" and should be addressed by considering figures across Britain and not just Scotland. Ms Williams acknowledged these frustrations and promised a thorough public review of fixtures, governance, and membership categorisations.


The AGM concluded with a bittersweet tribute to outgoing BE Scotland chairman John White as recruitment for his replacement begins. As Scotland’s eventing community grapples with these challenges, one thing is clear: there may be hurdles ahead, but the sport is far from out for the count.

Source: Horse & Hound