BD Operational Plan maps the way ahead
- Written By:
A week on from the welcome news that BD activity can resume in England from 29 March, British Dressage can now share with stakeholders our operational plan for the safe return of training and competitions. We await further news from the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales to confirm a resumption date for these nations in due course.
Since the sport was suspended in early January, the Sport Operations Team have been busy developing a number of options for qualification, series and championships mapped against various scenarios, which has put us in a strong position to get the 2021 calendar back on track. We’re delighted to announce that over 60% of the major dates that have been impacted by lockdown have been rescheduled or are close to confirming revised dates. Qualification criteria has also been reviewed for the summer season and adjustments made to work within the remaining timeframe in order to enable members to still achieve the requirements.
When we resume on 29 March, all BD members are encouraged to ‘stay safe, stay local’ in order to mitigate the risks of COVID and allow themselves, and their horses, the necessary time to return to action. No major fixtures will take place before 30 April to give everyone adequate opportunity to get back into training, prepare, improve fitness and practice ahead of any big competitions.
"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 CEO. “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 underway 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.”
BD competition and training activity
The current suspension of BD organised competition and training activity is now formally extended by a further three weeks, from 7 March up to and including 28 March, before action can return in line with government requirements from Monday 29 March in England. This means that BD venues and organisers are now able to schedule regular affiliated competitions from Easter week onwards and summer season qualification will commence on this date.
All shows and training activity will run under the protocols and guidance that were put in place for the second half of 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. As the government restrictions are relaxed, we will review these protocols in line with the operational plan, to allow a phased return to activity over the coming weeks and months ahead.
At this stage we would anticipate that on-site retail, trade stands and outdoor catering should be able to re-open from 12 April onwards, while spectators and indoor catering could return from 17 May.
Return to Play
Our organisers and venues are working with the Development Officers to get the fixtures calendar up to date as well as a full programme of regional activities, test riding and flexi training, so that there is a full range of options available for members from 29 March. Please continue to check the BD website for the latest competition schedules and information on training opportunities.
We are now in the process of updating the guidance documents in our toolkits for competitors, organisers, judges and coaches and revised versions will go live on our website in the next week, so you can familiarise yourself with the protocols ahead of the restart.
Horse registrations – further three month extension
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. The extension will automatically be applied to horses where the owner is a current paid BD member with a valid membership as of midnight on 28 February. Terms and conditions apply but no further action is required to claim the concession and the extension will show on the horse’s record in the next 14 days.
Once again, we thank all of our members who have demonstrated their loyalty and support for BD by keeping their membership active during lockdown, and we hope this will go some way towards recognising your valuable contribution to the sport. By the end of this current suspension, everyone who has retained an active membership during the pandemic will have had up to seven months added to their horse registrations over a 12 month period.
Equine Influenza vaccination amnesty period
In recognition of some veterinary practices offering a reduced service during lockdown, the requirement for horses to have had a booster vaccination within six months and 21 days of a competition will be waived for the remainder of the summer season, up to 30 June 2021. Please note that the 12-month rule remains in place for all BD registered horses, regardless of whether or not you are competing – it is vitally important that your horse still has its annual vaccination.
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. The current situation in Europe, where there has been a major outbreak of EHV-1 resulting in four horses losing their lives, highlights the importance of vaccination and stringent biosecurity practices.
Additional support for coaches
We recognise that coaches have had a very difficult time working under COVID restrictions and have therefore reviewed the requirements for BD Accredited and Recognised coaches. To help support our freelance coach workforce who are listed on the BD Coaches Database, all those who complete their 2021 registration before the resumption of activity on 29 March will have their listing extended by up to three months, with a revised expiration date of 31 March 2022 for renewal.
BD shop and head office arrangements
Ahead of test riding and shows getting underway from 29 March, our in-house shop is now open with a limited service to supply venues and organisers with score sheets and other competition essentials. Please continue to use email to contact the shop at this time and allow additional time for orders to be processed – we recommend ordering at least ten days in advance of any show.
BD will continue to operate remotely with reduced staffing levels during March, will a full service resuming from 29 March onwards. Until this point, please be aware that it may take longer than usual to respond to emails or telephone calls, although our office hours remain the same and we will endeavour to provide you with the usual levels of service where possible.
Thank you once again for your patience and understanding during this latest lockdown period. We all look forward to finally getting our 2021 competition calendar underway and wish all BD members the best of luck, enjoyment and success for the remainder of the year.