ONE of the Cotswolds’ most prestigious annual equestrian events has been cancelled because of the credit crunch.

The 30th Spring Hill Horse Trials and Country Fair, billed as the United Kingdom’s biggest one-day eventing show, was to have been held on Captain Lennox Hannay’s Spring Hill Estate, near Chipping Campden, on Bank Holiday Monday, August 31.

It has been cancelled because at least half its sponsors, who include local estate agents, cannot afford to provide their usual funding because of the worldwide financial recession.

The only time anyone can remember it being cancelled previously was during the foot and mouth disease outbreak several years ago.

Thousands of spectators normally attend the event which, this year, was to have featured 150-170 riders aboard 240 horses.

It was to have boasted Pre-Trial and Intermediate Combined Training disciplines for the famous Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.

Co-organiser, Simon Hart, said the event costs £12,000 to stage and normally attracts at least £10,000 in sponsorship but this year struggled to get £3,000.

He said: "We are sorry to announce that the Springhill Horse Trials have had to be cancelled this year due to the economic crisis.

“I’ve lost at least 50 percent of my existing sponsors.

“Everybody is very sad.

“I don’t like to see it come to this.

“It will be greatly missed by spectators and competitors.”

Mr Hart is confident the event will go ahead on the same Bank Holiday next year, when he hopes to increase its country fair component by adding more stands.

He said: "Plans to continue next year are already afoot and to expand even more, so please pencil it in your diaries for 2010."

Mr Hart said other equestrian events were suffering similar problems because of the recession.

Businesses interested in participating in next year's event can telephone Mr Hart on 07717 336725.