Coronavirus Update: BD training activity resumes across all of the UK

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 02 Jun 2020 18:55

With new lockdown measures in place for the home nations, training can now get back underway for British Dressage members, under the regional structure, with Scotland and Wales joining England in the amber ‘response’ phase of our operational plan for the resumption of activity.

Our three RDOs have been busy compiling a comprehensive schedule of training activity and will be adding further dates regularly to give a full programme across the three countries.  All members should aim to keep up to date with the specific requirements from the respective national governments, and we have updated our frequently asked questions document to reflect the current position as of 1 June.

Flexi-training, test riding and clinics with BD coaches have been accepting bookings and are already proving very popular with members keen to resume face to face instruction and build their fitness levels in preparation for competitions restarting next month.  Please note that you will need to comply with the travel restrictions in each jurisdiction, as well as adhere to social distancing, public health and hygiene regulations at all times.

Judges can take advantage of online training across the levels, so their personal development can also continue.  These sessions are perfect to prepare for the resumption of sport, as well as for those who are working towards exams under the current process.  Details of all regional training can be found on each region’s web pages.

If members are looking for bespoke one to one training, the website hosts a ‘find a coach’ feature where you can search for a BD accredited (holder of BD/UKCC dressage specific level 3 qualification or above), recognised (holder of BD/UKCC generic level 2 qualification or below or other equivalent level qualification like BHS) or listed coach.  All have up to date first aid and public liability insurance and have signed up to the BEF Coaches’ Code of Conduct.  You can find a qualified coach by their list, qualifications or county – there could be the perfect coach just around the corner.  This is particularly useful for those members in Scotland and Wales who are restricted to local activity only, within a five mile radius of home.

Online dressage competitions are also a great way to get ready for shows starting up and the new lockdown measures mean the riders across the county can take part if they need to travel to an appropriate space to film their test.  We can now welcome E-Riders to join Dressage Anywhere on our list of approved providers.  Both platforms have recently announced full programmes for June across a range of levels, all judged by BD listed judges.

We’re working with our venues and organisers to get activity back underway and help to rebuild their revenue streams.  Many are now offering training activities and arena hire, so please do support your local venues.  If you’re not familiar with the venues in your region, our interactive map will help.

Venues in England will also have the opportunity to run a new concept of ‘training shows’ to fill competition gaps in the June calendar. These shows are a good way for organisers to test the new health and safety requirements needed for shows under COVID-19 guidance, as well as giving riders the chance to get out in front of a judge in a safe, controlled and regulated environment.  Results and points will not be recorded on the BD system, so there’s less pressure on riders, and venues won’t be charged any starter levies to help with their viability.

These shows are just one of a range of options for organisers, depending on local interest and demand from members, and are primarily for those with June dates already in the BD calendar.  Other alternatives include test riding days and training clinics, including the multiple groups permitted by each government administration.  If any venues would like to run a training show in June, please get in touch with your RDO (North - Jo Byrne, Central - Alex Phillips or South - Amanda Heath) or our Sport Operations Manager, Lou Jones.

All members can be reassured that all affiliated BD training activity will take place in a safe, controlled and regulated environment, to comply with all social distancing, public health and hygiene measures.  Our toolkits for organisers, coaches and judges are available to view online, including the standard operating procedures and guidelines for a safe resumption of training activity in June. 

We’re  in the process of finalising a new toolkit to assist our organisers and venues as we build towards competitions resuming next month.  We’re still working towards a restart date of 4 July for a return to sport, in line with the government’s recovery strategy published on 11 May.  Working with our Board Directors, taskforce groups and officials, the BD team has developed robust plans, with the safety of all stakeholders our absolute priority to minimise the risks of spreading the virus. This competition toolkit will be published shortly and organisers will have to be confident they can meet all the requirements in order to run competitions.

The RDOs will continue to work closely with venues and organisers to build up to a full competition calendar as regulations allow across the regions, while the central team will be updating the fixtures schedules on the BD website in preparation for competitions recommencing.  The aim is to open entries in late June, once the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions have been confirmed, with a view to restarting as soon as possible in early July.

BD Chief Executive Jason Brautigam commented; “Thankfully, everything is now moving in the right direction, with June heralding a welcome start to training and participation activity across all of the regions. Since we opened regional bookings last week, the response has been extremely positive with an encouraging uptake so far, indicating that members are keen to get back into action and get themselves and their horses ‘competition ready’.  A great deal of work and planning is going on to facilitate the restart of regular shows and we still have 4 July as our target date, subject to any changes in government regulations. This is a true team effort and I’m very grateful to the dressage community for pulling together to collectively support our sport.

“Our operational plan has proved invaluable in outlining a road map towards recovery, while the stakeholder toolkits have provided more detailed guidance and advice on how to operate safely.  Training and competing with BD in the ‘new normal’ won’t be quite the same for the foreseeable future, but we have to prioritise safety for all participants and do whatever we can to minimise the spread of the virus.  In order to get back up and running in July we will need everyone to be flexible in their approach and respect the additional requirements that need to be put in place.  In return we will do whatever we can to help support riders, owners, coaches, judges, stewards and organisers in their efforts to get the show back on the road.”

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