International Dressage Shows Worldwide Closed for at Least a Month, Impacts Olympic Preparations
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Mar. 16, 2020
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Most of the world’s international horse shows on Monday began coronavirus-triggered cancellations and suspensions for four weeks but closures could stretch well into May as a handful of events have already announced they will not be held. As with most sports, the pandemic will have a major impact on preparations for the Olympics in Tokyo scheduled for the end of July.
The last show to be completed before the closures recommended by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) was the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDIO3* Nations Cup and other CDI divisions at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced even tougher steps, suspending all USEF-owned events, selection trials, training camps, clinics, and activities for the next 30 days in addition to “strongly” recommending organizers suspend all licensed competitions across the country for the next 30 days.
“For those competitions that do run, there will be no accumulation of points, scores, money won, qualifications, or rankings toward any USEF awards programs, USEF-owned event or selection to a US team during this 30-day time period.”
The international dressage calendar shows 19 competitions in 13 countries in Oceania, Europe and North and South American from Monday through the next 30 days. All but a tiny handful are marked as canceled but of those not so designated most are almost certain to not be held, such as Burbank and Sacramento in California.
The world famous Kentucky Three-Day Event scheduled for April 23-26 at the Kentucky Horse Park has been canceled for the first time in its 42-year history.
The first competition after the 30-day suspension was the World Cup Final in Las Vegas scheduled for April 14-19, but that was canceled ahead of the broader-based recommendation.
Now, the first show will be a CDI3* at Tryon, North Carolina–the 2018 World Equestrian Games venue–April 16-19. If it proceeds, the show will likely draw a big field of Americans, Canadians and combinations from other nations seeking a start at the Tokyo Games.
The Hagen, Germany Horses & Dreams that traditionally marks the beginning of the western European outdoor season and scheduled for April 22-26 was officially canceled Monday.
The Del Mar, California World Cup set for the same weekend and a qualifier for the 2021 World Cup Final will also not be held.
A CDI4* at Mannheim, Germany is among shows cancelled into May along with a handful of others so far.
A possible major change in Olympic preparations even if shows resume on or soon after the recommended suspension period of 30 days is a United States squad competing in Europe ahead of team selection.
The shows on the proposed schedule are the Nations Cups in Compiègne, France May 14-17 and Aachen, Germany June 1-7.
But that is being re-considered with the status of shows uncertain and a plan that called for returning to New York for a month before heading to Tokyo.