Adjusting to the 'new normal' at competitions

After two months off in the horse world due to COVID-19, it was a big change and challenge to get the ball rolling again once lockdown restrictions were eased. Many yards had been closed meaning riding and training had grinded to a halt and this presented two challenges - having to bring the horses back into work after a two-month holiday and to get them fit to compete.

Now that many events and arenas have started back up again there are new measures in place to maintain social distancing.

The main changes at British Eventing competitions include:

· Minimum numbers of people permitted on event site– sport delivered ‘behind closed doors’ with no spectators.

· Competitors to complete their event and to leave venue as quickly as possible

· Riders and Support to bring their own PPE – Mask, Gloves and Hand Sanitiser. For use in situations where social distancing is not possible (retrieving injured or loose horse, for example).

· Competitor Limits – Competitor numbers will be limited for all events for the remainder of the 2020 fixtures until further notice

· Scores – No scoreboards or screens will be used on venue. All scores to be accessed online either through BE Website or other e.g. Live Scoring

· Prizes - No formal prize giving’s will be held. Awarding prize money is not mandated and if given it will be paid by BACS, competitors need to ensure they have emailed an Online Prize Money Claim Form to Organiser

The changes may take some getting used to however, some of the them bring advantages to competitions that may remain in place going forwards. Electronic scoring with live feeds and score updates online means no waiting around and supporters who don’t attend the event have access to the scores a lot sooner than they would have previously. Larger warm up areas are great and running competitions ‘behind closed doors’ with no spectators results in less pressure and potential distractions for the horses when competing (this is particularly useful for younger horses or new-comers to the sport looking for a more low key atmosphere) however, professional riders may see no crowds as a disadvantage as it means horses do not get used to the atmosphere ready for bigger events and championships. The other governing bodies are following similar approaches, check out the British Equestrian website for more updated on other sports.

Life after lockdown has caused many changes for the equestrian world but the industry is adapting well to get back on its feet. Hopefully, we can continue to move forwards as a community and adjust to this new way of life.

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