Dressage and showjumping reveal lockdown exit roadmaps for riders in England

  • Horse registration extensions and fresh plans to allow major competitions to go ahead have been released by British Dressage (BD) as part of its plans to safely restart.

    BD has announced affiliated activities will resume in England on 29 March, with all BD members encouraged to “stay safe, stay local”, with no major fixtures before 30 April to give people time to properly prepare.

    This means the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships and Petplan Area Festival finals, originally due to be held at Hartpury from 14 to 18 April, have been postponed.

    A number of other major fixtures have been cancelled or postponed; 60% of these affected by lockdown are now rescheduled, or “close to confirming” revisited dates.

    Qualification criteria have also been reviewed for the summer season and adjustments made.

    “A great deal of work has gone into pulling a plan together which provides competition opportunities for as many members as possible within the restricted timeframe available and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their input,” said Jason Brautigam, BD chief executive.

    “I hope this operational plan gives us all a clear route forward and, provided we all continue to train and compete safely within our protocols, we will be able to get activity back under way in line with the Government milestones.

    “For those members in Scotland and Wales, rest assured we’ll get everyone back in action as soon as restrictions allow. There are still some elements to be finalised but we will keep members updated regularly as the situation evolves over coming weeks.”

    All BD shows and training will run under the Covid-safe protocols and guidance put in place in 2020, with social distancing, hygiene measures, restricted numbers (one additional person per combination) and an “arrive, compete and leave’” policy to minimise contact with others.
    BD has pledged to review these as Government restrictions are relaxed and in line with its own operational plan, to allow a phased return to activity.

    It is anticipating that on-site retail, trade stands and outdoor catering should be able to reopen from 12 April, while spectators and indoor catering could return from 17 May.

    The BD board has agreed to a further three-month extension of full and club horse registrations, in lieu of the suspension of BD competitions in January, February and March 2021. This will be automatically applied to horses whose owners are current, paid BD members, with a valid membership as of 28 February.

    BD has also relaxed its requirement for all horses to have had a flu booster within six months and 21 days of a competition, until 30 June 2021. The 12-month rule remains in place for all BD-registered horses, regardless of whether or not they are competing.

    “We strongly recommend that owners get up to date with the six-monthly booster at the earliest opportunity to minimise the risk of equine influenza spreading once horses begin mixing again,” said a BD spokesman.

    “The current situation in Europe, where there has been a major outbreak of EHV-1 resulting in horses losing their lives, highlights the importance of vaccination and stringent biosecurity practices.”

    Visit the BD website for the full operational plan.
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    ‘Stay safe, stay local, enjoy your horses’

    British Showjumping (BS) has been working with organisers and other stakeholders to draw up its own plan for the return of competition and training.

    A number of qualifiers and championships have been rescheduled, the full details of which can be found on the BS plan for sport resumption.

    As part of this, BS is working with international organisers, county shows and those planning to run international/area trials, to provide a suitable number of classes at gold league level, given the challenges associated with Brext and the EHV-1 outbreak in mainland Europe.

    “We are all looking forward to the resumption of British Showjumping activity however we would also like to remind everyone that adherence to Covid protocols at any British Showjumping activity is imperative if we are to ensure the sport functions in a safe environment for all attending,” said a BS statement.

    “Please remember your horses have also had a long period of lockdown so be mindful of this when planning your return to competition.

    “Stay safe, stay local and enjoy your horses.”

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