Princess Anne’s annual Gatcombe Trials will be coming to an end this year, after years of enjoyment for generations of Windsors. Equestrian fans will be equally affected, as the sporting fixture has birthed some of the UK’s foremost equestrian Olympic medal winners. The course was Zara Tindall’s first return to racing since giving birth to her daughter Lena, and the trials helped her win Olympic silver in 2012.
Why did Princess Anne cancel the Gatcombe trials?
The trials at Gatcombe have been ongoing since 1989 with competition enjoyed by some of the world’s best horse racers.
The courses at the estate were designed by the Princess Royal herself, and many members of the Royal Family have been photographed testing the site.
This Autumn will be the last time the event will go on at her estate, as it is too difficult to organise.
Pattie Biden – event organiser for the trials each year has – said she will be retiring from her position, according to Daily Mail columnist Richard Eden.
Talking to Mr Eden, she said: “Our event in the autumn will be the final one at Gatcombe.
“I told the Princess that I wanted to retire. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but organising the events is very hard.
“I don’t always feel that the riders appreciate how much work goes into it.”
The Princess has admitted before the races are not sustainable, both economically and ecologically.
Talking to Country Life magazine in 2009, she said: “People think you’re making money out of these things, but it’s a close run thing. We don’t make enough money.
“Even picking up people’s hay and other rubbish from their horse lorries could threaten our organic status.
”And having the great British public tramping around is hardly organic.”
However, not all horse-based events will be cancelled at the 700-acre estate.
Anne has allowed the Festival of British Eventing to continue in the summer each year.
The festival is organised by her ex-husband Captain Mark Phillips and her son Peter and sees some of the World’s foremost equestrian eventers compete in five separate championships.
These are the Magic Millions British Open, Intermediate and Novice Championships, Amateur Championship, Corinthian Cup and the newly added Retrained Racehorse Event Championship.