Florida’s Global Show Grounds Becomes One of First Horse Shows–Jumpers & Hunters–Since Covid-19 Outbreak. Palm Beach Masters Closing Permanently

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Schuyler Riley of the United States competing in the first horse show at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, May 22, 2020–A jumper and hunter schooling event was staged at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Global show grounds Friday, one of the first competitions in the nation since most sports were suspended in mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The general public was not admitted to the grounds, but one person in addition to rider, trainer and groom was allowed to accompany contestants.

While the re-opening of horse sport competition was beginning, the organizers of the Palm Beach Masters that hosted both World Cup and Nations Cup competitions just a few hundreds/meters from the Global grounds announced it was permanently ending the show because of the long-term impact of Covid-19.

There were 366 entries representing several nations in the first of three days of competition that along with another schooling show next week herald a return to U.S. federation approved events beginning in June.

The first approved dressage competitions are scheduled for June 5, one in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin with several others listed the same weekend beginning a day later.

Numerous monitors supplemented dozens of signs posted throughout the show grounds proclaiming six feet/1.8m distance between people competing in four arenas, including the centerpiece international arena that during the winter hosts the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Everyone entering the show grounds passed through an automatic temperature check. The monitor displayed an identical temperature as this photographer recorded at home near the show grounds. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

In Several hours at the show grounds, everything was seen to be working extremely smoothly.

Riders were not required to wear face masks during competition, but all others were.

Grooms, masked and maintaining separation, at the Global show grounds. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions that organizes competitions at Global and the larger facility that hosts the Winter Equestrian Festival, said no problems were encountered.

Who is this masked man, identifiable mostly by his hat–Michael Stone, president of Equestrian Sport Productions that organizes shows at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Three of the competition arenas were outdoors while the Van Kampen covered arena that has no walls to allow cross winds was also used.

Harry Harding, a British event rider, competing in the van Kampen covered arena. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Competitors were encouraged to handle all entries online and keep contact with the show office to a minimum.

Plexiglass shields set up in the show office as protection. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Social distancing reminders were everywhere throughout the show grounds and were followed as witnessed in several hours at the show grounds. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Social distancing was followed including in the warmup arena where Roberto Teran Tafur of Colombia was preparing to go into the competition ring. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The Palm Beach Masters was launched at Deeridge Farm in 2016 that became successful as a major series alongside Palm Beach International Equestrian Center that hosts the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and the Winter Equestrian Festival.

“From the beginning,” said Lou Jacobs, founder of the series, “my family was committed to producing a world-class event benefiting the most accomplished equestrians from across the globe. We are very proud of the series, which featured high-performance horse sport and a distinctive hospitality experience.”