Half of International Dressage Shows for Year Already Canceled in Coronavirus Pandemic

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April 28, 2020

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Re-scheduling the world famous Future Champions Nations Cups in Hagen, Germany and cancellation of a second World Cup qualifier in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to about half of international competitions being dropped or postponed for the entire year.

British organizations responsible for the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping announced efforts to weigh steps to return to competition while many other countries suggested different ways to maintain equestrian activities.

From the World Cup in s’Hertogenbosch, Netherland in mid-March as the first international dressage competition canceled due to Covid-19, 85 of 158 dressage competitions, or 54%, have been put off for 2020 after only a third of the year. Among the events are cancellation of the World Cup Final in Las Vegas that had been set for earlier this month and deferring the Olympics for a year to the summer of 2021.

The United States with the most dressage competitions of the 36 nations with shows governed by the International Equestrian Federation international in 2020 has seen eight of its 23 competitions canceled as of the end of April.

The latest cancellation was the World Cup qualifier set for Saugerties, New York June 11-14. A World Cup event in Del Mar, California was dropped earlier this month.

However, the U.S. has several World Cup events scheduled for later this year as well as early in 2021 ahead of the Final in Gothenburg, Sweden the first week of April.

Uncertain is the status of the North American Youth Championships scheduled for Traverse City, Michigan Aug. 4-9, the same dates as the U.S.Pony Finals in Kentucky that the U.S. Equestrian Federation on Tuesday reported renewed sponsorship without making clear whether the event would go on.

The USEF extended suspension of recognized shows and other activities until the end of May, which Canada had already done. Both countries typically enter several regional teams in the North American Youth Championships.

Organizers of the Future Champions Nations Cups of pony, children, junior and young riders at Hagen, Germany reported Tuesday looking for an alternate date to the June 9-14 schedule. If a new date cannot be found during the outdoor season, the event could be moved indoors next winter.

The Horses & Dreams show that traditionally launches the outdoor competition season in western Europe and is also organized at Hof Kasselmann in Hagen was canceled earlier this month.

So far, 10 of the 21 international events scheduled for Germany in 2020 have been canceled or postponed, including the premier World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany and the World Breeding Championships better known as young horse championships in Verden in early August.

Two major German national series, Nürnberger Burg-Pokal for Small Tour and Louisdor Prize for developing Grand Prix are stalled as there are no qualifying competitions for the finals scheduled for Frankfurt in December.

The pandemic has decimated shows in Italy with six of nine competitions canceled, Spain with five of seven canceled, Netherlands with five of eight and both Austria and Canada each with four of six shows off the calendar.

The German federation that says the country’s deep-rooted equestrian lifestyle described the pandemic as having “torn a huge financial gap in many riding schools and plunged them into an existential crisis. It suggested tapping into former school riders, friends and family to seek sponsorship of school horses.

The British Equestrian Federation is working with the three British entities governing the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing, jumping and para on how to resume competition when the government gives the go-ahead.

With a lockdown in Britain at least until May 7, the three organizations reported working on plans for getting underway subject to requirements set by the government.