Joint Statement: British Dressage and British Showjumping Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 17 Mar 2020 17:37 GMT

In light of yesterday’s UK Government advice on the risks to public health presented by the coronavirus, British Dressage (BD) and British Showjumping (BS) have taken a number of decisions around sporting and training activities for the next four week period, up to and including 16 April.

These have been informed by the strong recommendations around social distancing, non-essential travel and public gatherings, taking 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.

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.

Both BD and BS hope that our actions go some way to removing the current uncertainty and enable our stakeholders to prioritise their personal health and well-being at this difficult time. We will be continuing to monitor the situation closely and will aim to issue regular updates in line with UK Government, Public Health England and NHS advice.

• 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.

• This will include the cancellation of the following major events across our two disciplines:

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

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.

• In both disciplines, our staff, Directors, technical committees and relevant parties will be reviewing the impact on the sporting calendar as a result of these cancellations and any subsequent qualifications and selection. This will of course be dependent on when dressage and showjumping is able to restart and plans will inevitably remain fluid until then.

We recognise that it is difficult for members to plan ahead for training, competition and qualification at this stage, but we will work hard to ensure that both organisations are in a strong position as and when the sports can resume.

• The Meriden headquarters for BD and BS will remain operational with skeleton staffing arrangements, while the majority of employees will be required to work from home from Monday 23 March onwards. Both organisations will continue to support members and stakeholders throughout and contact can be made as normal via phone or email.

British Dressage Chief Executive Jason Brautigam commented; “This is an exceptionally difficult decision, but the safety and wellbeing of all participants has to be our paramount consideration. 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.”

British Showjumping Chief Executive Iain Graham said; “We trust everyone concerned understands that we all have a part to play in this global pandemic. 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. I would like to thank all of our members, officials and stakeholders in advance for their cooperation during these uncertain times. 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.”

BS and BD share a number of venues, as the two sports are similar in nature, so both organisations will continue to work together to review the situation and take action when required.
While suspending national sporting and training activity will inevitably impact on most participants, the elite athletes campaigning for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will continue to train and prepare as normal. British Dressage and British Showjumping will, in conjunction with the British Equestrian Federation and the National Lottery funded UK Sport World Class Performance Programme, continue to support them in any way possible towards their selection goals.

Both organisations will keep stakeholders updated through all channels of communication as the situation is constantly evolving and changing. Both BD and BS are currently in the process of compiling an FAQ document, which will be published on our websites to help members with any immediate concerns or questions they may have.