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British Dressage and British Showjumping to cancel all shows and training from Friday

All affiliated dressage and showjumping shows have been cancelled until at least mid-April owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

British Dressage (BD) and British Showjumping (BS) announced tonight (Tuesday, 17 March) that all sporting and training activities will cease from Friday, 20 March up until and including Thursday, 16 April.

A joint statement from BD and BS said that the decision has been informed by the “strong recommendations around social distancing, non-essential travel and public gatherings”.

“[The decisions take] into account the severity of the current situation and our responsibilities as national governing bodies to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all of our sport’s participants, as well as the wider implications for society as a whole,” added the statement.

“The challenges faced by our community, regions and venues are unprecedented, so we have made these decisions in the interest of public health and to reduce any burden on our health and emergency services.

“We also have a duty of care to all of our stakeholders, whether riders, trainers, owners, officials, organisers or supporters, as well as a societal responsibility towards the containment and control of the coronavirus.”

It added BD and BS will be “continuing to monitor the situation closely” and will aim to provide updates in line with government, Public Health England and NHS advice.

The following major shows have also been cancelled:

  • British Showjumping Spring Championships at Addington, 26-29 March
  • British Dressage Young Horse Forum at Myerscough, 27 March
  • Blue Chip Winter Championships at Hartpury, 1-5 April
  • NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships incorporating the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Hartpury College, 8-12 April
  • Pony of the Year Show at Arena UK, 9-13 April
  • National BD Judges Convention at Addington, 14 April

“All national activities will cease with immediate effect, with all regional activities to support competition, training, coaching and exams that are currently scheduled permitted to continue until close of business on Thursday 19 March,” added the statement.

“We are working with organisers around the policy and procedures for issuing refunds for the above events, so please bear with us, but we will endeavour to communicate more details and timeframes as soon as possible.”

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BD and BS’ headquarters will remain operational, with most staff working from home.

“This is an exceptionally difficult decision, but the safety and wellbeing of all participants has to be our paramount consideration,” said BD chief executive Jason Brautigam.

“As a society we must collectively work together to limit the spread of the virus – and based on the latest government and public health advice this has now become a matter of urgency.

“Thank you to all of our members, coaches, officials, organisers and volunteers for your support and understanding – by acting swiftly and responsibly to contain this virus we hope that our sport can resume again soon.”

BS chief executive Iain Graham thanked all its members, officials and stakeholders for their cooperation.

“We trust everyone concerned understands that we all have a part to play in this global pandemic,” said Mr Graham.

“Containing the virus and contributing to minimising the spread alongside not adding to an already stretched health and emergency services in tandem with doing the best to ensure safety of our community is the priority for us all at present.

“As we share a number of venues and our sports are similar in nature, we will continue to work with BD and constantly review the situation.”

British Riding Clubs (BRC) has “strongly recommended” that no activities take place until the end of June and has also cancelled its novice and intermediate winter championships, which were set to take place in March and April, its Festival of the Horse in May and the BRC horse trials championships in August.

The Riding for the Disabled Association is advising its groups to “close and suspend” activity and has cancelled all its regional qualifiers and national championships.

British Eventing cancelled all its fixtures yesterday (Monday, 16 March), as did the Pony Club, which cancelled all national events and advised branches and centres that all Pony Club activities cease “with immediate effect”.

Earlier today (Tuedsay, 17 March), the British Horseracing Authority announced there would be no racing until the end of April and the remainder of the 2019/20 point-to-point season has also been called off.

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