Bacon butties, hand sanitiser and dogs allowed: eventing under the ‘new normal’

  • Online scoring, print-at-home numbers and limited numbers on site are part of the new detailed plan for the resumption of eventing.

    British Eventing (BE) released the blueprint for the ‘new normal’ last night (22 June) as the sport prepares to return behind closed doors from 10 July.

    Dogs will be allowed, there will be loos and riders will also be able to buy their bacon butties, as event caterers are permitted on site.

    Entries for the first three events — Barbury, Tweseldown and Aske (10/11-12 July) — are expected to open tomorrow (24 June).

    “Our focus remains on keeping all participants safe, while enabling everyone to enjoy a competition experience as close to normal as we can,” said BE chief executive Jude Matthews.

    “We continue to work in line with current government guidance and will update protocols as restrictions change.

    “We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your patience and support, and look forward to seeing you all out eventing soon.”

    Venues will be providing hand sanitiser as well as PPE for volunteer roles that need it, while briefings will be online. Volunteers are also encouraged to use their own equipment, where possible, such as clipboards, and whistles will be kept by fence judges.

    “Where volunteers are from the same household or bubble, they will be able to work in pairs, otherwise volunteering roles will be separate and in line with social distancing requirements,” added Ms Matthews.

    “We would encourage anyone who has been advised that they are more vulnerable to continue to follow government advice.”

    Start fees will now be paid online with entries and refunded if a rider does not compete. Competitors must print their own number bibs at home.

    Cross-country courses will be available to walk as per the BE rules, which includes the day before, and stewards will manage numbers in warm-up areas to prevent overcrowding.

    “You need to ensure you know how many people are allowed to accompany you,” said Ms Matthews.

    “As the sport resumes this will be limited to one person, plus the rider, per horse, and in the case of a rider with multiple horses this will be one supporter allowed per horse. In addition, one owner is permitted per horse (other than where the owners are part of the same household, or bubble).

    “Eventing will resume ‘behind closed doors’ without spectators.”

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    Parking will be spaced and the vet and BE officials will carry our random passport and vaccination checks in the lorry park, so competitors do not need to take these to the entries secretary.

    Riders are expected to keep to their times, and risk not being allowed to compete if they do not. There will be no prize givings and prize money will be paid via bank transfer.

    Other strands to the ‘new normal’ include online sales only for photos and videos, hand sanitiser stations around the event, and scoring queries or objections will be dealt with over the phone or by email.

    “We ask that competitors maintain social distancing when riding and, once you have finished competing, you leave the site as promptly as possible,” said Ms Matthews.

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