25 May 2020
2020 will certainly be a year that we won’t forget. The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in a very different way of life. Many people have lost loved ones and lost the ability to be close to family and friends. Other people have been unable to ride, while some face uncertainty regarding employment. It has, and continues to be a worrying time for everyone but despite everything we have all made huge a effort to contain the spread of this deadly virus.
Our efforts to date have been successful as the spread of the virus is slowing down. The Government, HSE and HSI continue to guide us through the gradual lifting of restrictions, however they are implicit in reminding us that we all have a responsibility to contain the virus and any laxity in our National effort could see a secondary peak and re-instatement of restrictions. What is certain is that these restrictions are now part of a new norm. We have been working closely with HSI in producing standard operating procedures which Dressage Ireland will employ in an attempt to avoid transmission of the virus when we get the green light to resume our sport.
The Board of Dressage Ireland take the responsibility of the safety of our members very seriously. After considerable deliberation the Board have regretfully decided to cancel the 2020 National Dressage Championships. We understand that this will disappoint many people, however the health and safety of all those who come together for the National Championships has been our priority in making this decision. We realise that members are missing out on the ability to train and compete and with this in mind the Board have been working behind the scenes on your behalf. We are currently in consultation with HSI on a Return to Sport Document and have asked Regional Committees for proposed schedules going forward. So there is hope on the horizon!
As it is not possible to have large scale gatherings, we are hoping that when we are given the approval for our shows to commence that your Regional Committees will be able to run a Regional Championship event for their members. Dressage Ireland Central will offer some financial support towards the expenses of such events. As this is an evolving situation we are unable to give exact dates and venues as yet but we should be able to do so over the coming few weeks. Regional Committee’s will then be able to post details of their schedules and Championships on their websites.
Covid Compliance Measures means that shows will be organised differently and we ask you all to please abide by the restrictions. Be patient and respectful of show organizers as they guide competitors on maintaining social distancing and hygiene practices. The shows will be structured to ensure competitors will spend minimal time at the show grounds and these measures will be strictly enforced. If members act responsibly then all going well we will be allowed to enjoy our sport. If members flaunt the restrictions it is most probable that another lockdown could be imposed on Equestrian activity. So it is up to each one of us to act responsibly!
The Board have also been in contact with our Insurers and we have put in place Rules and Guidelines for regions who would like to go ahead and run Dressage Tests online, details to be published shortly.
As restrictions are gradually being lifted I don’t think we will ever take our health and freedom for granted again. With this in mind I ask you all to continue to take care, enjoy your horses and hopefully we will see you all back out competing and training again shortly.
Chairperson Dressage Ireland.