Worldwide Horse Show Cancellations Near One-Third of Total on 2020 Calendar, Suspension of Official Activities Extending

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April 1, 2020

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Horse show cancellations worldwide are near one-third of the total on the 2020 calendar as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with the suspension of equestrian activities being extended in Britain to the end of May. Lockdowns in many countries are decreed by governments with no easing short term for  Europe and North America.

Of the 1,596 dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para dressage competitions on the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) calendar for 2020, at least 454 have already been canceled, or more than 28% of the total.

Of the 186 dressage competitions, 50 shows or 31% of the total have been canceled.

The World Cup finals of dressage and jumping that were scheduled for Las Vegas in mid-April and the Olympics in Tokyo beginning late July were the major casualties in 2020 of the virus, officially named Covid-19.

The Nations Cup dressage series, shortened before the outbreak because of the Olympics, has been shredded. The only Nations Cup to be held was the CDIO3* at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, the last major dressage event in the United States before suspension of shows in mid-March.

Team competitions set for Compiègne, France and Rotterdam, Netherlands have been canceled, Aachen, Germany has postponed its World Equestrian Festival from early June to a yet-to-be decided date later in the year. Falsterbo, Sweden scheduled for July 9-12 is the only Nations Cup series event remaining on the calendar.

Postponement of the Olympics to late July-early August next year will have a major impact on the 2021 calendar of events–European Championships of dressage, eventing and jumping that will be qualifiers for the 2022 world championships, for example, were scheduled for August.

The FEI has set up task forces to work on the disruptions. One of the first decisions was to revise the ranking format that was implemented Wednesday. The decision was to extend the ranking period by a month from the normal 12-month period.

Several national federations, Britain, Canada, France and Germany as well as others, have taken on the role of financial advisor to the equestrian industry, distributing detailed information on how access economic support available from governments.

French federation president Serge Lecomte described the pandemic as “an economic disaster” for the sport horse industry in France that generates €1.2/US$1.3 billion a year.

Major horse dealers, such as Paul Schockemöhle, whose German business sells about 750 horses a year, most to the United States, told St. Georg magazine that no one is trying horses because travel is almost impossible.

“The Americans can’t get out, and when they’re outside, they don’t know if they’re coming back,” he told the magazine.

Some equestrian magazines, already under threat from digital outlets, have felt the impact of no shows to cover and a further decline in advertising, and cut the number of issues published, such as moving from weekly to once every two weeks.