Monday, April 28, 2008

Hickstead event axed due to stroppy parents

A children’s showjumping event has been cancelled after parents threatened the organisers.

A decision was made by organisers of the British Jumping Derby Meeting at Hickstead, West Sussex, to move the Junior and Pony Masters section to the less glamorous Ring 2 at the competition in June.

Upset that their children wouldn’t be in the limelight of the main arena, angry parents became abusive towards show staff.

Lizzie Bunn, director of the showground, told the Times: “It wasn’t the children, it was the parents coming at us because their ‘little darlings’ weren’t able to compete. We had screaming rows. They verbally abused and threatened staff. I felt like throwing them out. Because they weren’t getting their own way, they were trying to throw their weight around. They came up to staff and told them their children were in floods of tears because the event had been moved. I told them they didn’t have to jump if they didn’t want to. The behaviour was intolerable. I thought, ‘We’re not putting up with it’.”

Mrs Bunn is now concentrating on events for older people instead. She said: “Maybe the parents will learn and in a few years we will reinstate the classes. Unfortunately, I think it’s a sign of the times across all sports.”, for horses, horseboxes, trailers, equestrian clothing, riding instructors, equestrian insurers, riding equipment and so much more.

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