Event News – 4th March 2024

It is with great sadness that we announce the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park will not take place this year.

Despite great determination from the organising team, the current economic climate has made it unviable for the event to go ahead. Following the adverse weather experienced at Gatcombe last year, which led to the abandonment of the event, and due to the ever-increasing costs associated with operating on a green field site, it has made the event unfeasible to run.

Event Director, Peter Phillips comments, “It is with a heavy heart that The Festival, which has played a significant part in the British Eventing calendar since 1983, cannot run this year. The event has also been a huge part of my family’s lives and those of many others for 40 years.

“It has built up a large community that has enjoyed and celebrated The Festival each year. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved over the past four decades; our sponsors for their unwavering support, the large selection of trade stands and arena entertainment and our spectators who have loved coming to Gatcombe to watch the world-class equestrian sport from the famous Park Bowl.”

Event Chairman, Captain Mark Phillips adds, “The horse trials at Gatcombe and more recently the Festival of British Eventing have been a major part of my life for over 40 years when The Princess Royal and I first had the dream. The dream became reality, and with it, many special memories of the many riders, horses, volunteers, sponsors and spectators all of whom massively contributed to the history of the horse trials at Gatcombe Park.

“It’s truly a great sadness that the original model and indeed the sport has changed so much. Since Covid, costs, particularly insurance, have risen so much that the numbers no longer add up. It is an end of an era, the next 40 years of the sport will be different, let’s hope it can be equally special.”

Rosie Williams, Chief Executive of British Eventing said, “It is incredibly sad news for everyone involved in the sport.  My focus this year is very much going to be on how we can implement a strategy that works for the sport going forward.  We need to do everything we can to find a way to support our organisers, landowners and stakeholders to make events at wonderful venues like Gatcombe become viable.  We will work hard as a governing body to assist in any way we can for the financial risk and burden to be minimised so that we can welcome Gatcombe, and others like it, back into the calendar.

“We will continue to be ongoing in discussions with Peter and the team at Gatcombe and will also be, as a matter of urgency, discussing a tender process for the national championships which will need to find a new home for this season and going forward.”


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