This afternoon USEF held a Zoom meeting about the process surrounding the plan of a safe return to the competition. As of right now licensed competitions are set to restart on June 1. There were many questions that went unanswered, but there were also many which were answered.
The panelists included USEF legal counsel Sonja Keeting, USEF president Bill Moroney, ESP / WEF Show manager Micheal Stone, Trainer John Madden & Dr. Mark Hart. Presenters all had one common voice when it came to returning to competitions. We will only have ONE chance to get it right if show areas become a source of outbreaks, the shows will be shut down a lot longer than just a few weeks. Patience and flexibility will be key things the equestrian community will need to have while moving back into competition.
Shows will begin to open up on a state by state basis as state governments allow. Federal, State & Local laws will supersede any decisions made by USEF. Show organizers will have access to tools through the CDC & WHO which will assess risk of a particular show venue and determine if it is safe to host a horse show. Shows with FEI classes will need to adhere to decisions for the competition made by the FEI. It should also be noted that there will be a change to the liability release we all sign to hold harmless USEF & Show management of liability if a participant is exposed COVID19 while competing. Danielle Keating notes that there is NO WAY to eliminate the risk of exposure. USEF plans to release their full course of action for Show organizers later this week, however, these are some of the changes up for consideration.
Some major changes are in store for exhibitors as well, a big one some may find difficult will be that there will be no spectators permitted at the show-grounds, and riders will only be permitted to go to the ring with no more than 3 people, a trainer, a groom, and a parent. Social distancing will be enforced both in the irons and on the grounds, there will be no common ringside seating areas. Barns are encouraged to begin safe practices now at home, before heading out to the horse shows. John Madden brought up several points about how to prohibit common touchpoints. This may include having personalized equipment for each caretaker, instead of shared tools, like brushes and lunge lines.
It’s important to note that show management will have the right to eject individuals who do not follow safe practices like social distancing and overpopulating common areas. Management will not make these decisions lightly but they must do what’s best for the greater good and USEF intends to back up show managers who may end up ejecting individuals for non-compliance Some questions were answered, many will be answered later once the committee can discuss them. I’m certain there will be many more as we get closer to June 1, 2020. This is just a brief overview of what was covered in the webinar.
Watch the replay of the webinar HERE.