Great news for Scotland and Wales
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It’s a green light for competitions in Scotland and indoor facilities in Wales.
Yesterday we received the welcome news from sportscotland that competitions can resume in Scotland, subject to government restrictions. horsescotland has been working closely with the equestrian member bodies on a resumption plan in recent weeks and we now have a clear route forward, with their guidance for the resumption of equestrian competition forming the basis of sport specific protocols for the disciplines from each governing body.
There are some key points which venues and competitors will need to adhere to:
• ‘Competition bubbles’ will be created with a maximum of five households, with no more than 15 people in each bubble.
• Venues can host multiple competition bubbles, but they should ensure that they do not come into contact with each other.
• Competitions will therefore need to run according to a strict timetable, with staggered warm up and start times to prevent each distinct group of five households mixing.
• Organised competitions must be behind closed doors, with competitors (plus one helper per combination), show officials, venue staff and essential personnel on site.
• There are no distance restrictions for competitions, but travel to and from the competition should not mix households.
• Children 17 and under are exempt from these requirements, but organisers should still seek to reduce risk by minimising the numbers of children taking part in competition.
British Dressage has produced specific guidance documents for Scottish organisers and competitors, which are now live in the toolkit section of the website. Competitions will be able to get underway in the next few days, once our venues have completed the necessary risk assessments and confirm that they can run in accordance with these protocols and procedures.
Our Regional Development Officer for Scotland, Emma Stewart, will update organisers and members in her region via newsletters and social media as the fixture calendar takes shape.
Chairman of horsescotland Grant Turnbull said; “We are delighted that open competition is now allowed to resume. Working closely with British Dressage, and the other disciplines, throughout the process has been incredibly helpful and the support provided on the resumption proposals has been invaluable. We will continue to work closely to interpret any future new guidance coming from Scottish Government to ensure that we benefit the Scottish equestrian community as a whole. Everyone now needs to play their part and support the guidance fully, in a safe and practical way."
In Wales competition has been successfully running for a few weeks, with groups of up to 30 permitted outdoors. Organisers are managing numbers well within these restrictions and the calendar of fixtures for August and September is now starting to take shape. As of Monday 10 August, indoor gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools are also allowed to re-open. This means that those venues with indoor/covered arenas will once again be able to use them for training and competition activity.
The British Dressage Board recognises that members in Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man have experienced a delay in competition resuming over the past month and have therefore agreed that a further one month extension to horse registrations should be applied, in addition to the two month extension concession announced for all qualifying members on 1 July.
The additional month will apply to both Full and Club categories, as long as the membership and horse registrations were current and active as of 30 June 2020. Those due for renewal in July will also qualify provided they were renewed before midnight on 28 July. There are full terms and conditions should members have any questions.
British Dressage CEO Jason Brautigam commented; “It’s great news to have our three home nations back to competitive action. Working closely with venues and organisers, our regional teams have done a great job to get training activity underway and we are now in a good position to start returning the competition calendar to pre-pandemic levels. We recognise that this has been a frustrating and challenging time for members, particularly those in Scotland and Wales who have had to wait longer than their England counterparts for the return of competitions.
We therefore wanted to provide an extra month of horse registration to our members in those regions to reward their patience and understanding – thank you all for your support. We know that the virus is still with us and there will continue to be challenges that need to be managed carefully, including responding to local lockdowns, but for now we will continue to build on this momentum for the remaining half of the year.”