We are nearly two full months into a return to competition. While we are all grateful for the opportunity to enjoy competing again, the challenges and risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic remain part of our daily lives. Governors are beginning to pull back or even reverse reopening initiatives in several states as positivity rates are increasing.
We truly appreciate the diligence and cooperation of participants and organizers who have gone above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of their competition communities by adhering to the various state and local requirements, as well as the requirements and recommendations outlined in the USEF Action Plan for Licensed Competitions. However, USEF has received reports of non-compliance with and non-enforcement of the Action Plan. Every instance of non-compliance and non-enforcement not only endangers the health and safety of your fellow participants, but also threatens our ability to continue having competitions in this extremely tenuous environment.
The ability to keep competitions operating depends on every one of us, individually and collectively. It hinges on our cooperative participation in efforts to control the spread of the virus.
With that in mind, effective immediately, USEF mandates the use of face masks/face coverings at all times while on the competition grounds except when mounted on a horse or driving a horse-drawn carriage or cart. The USEF Action Plan update, released yesterday, reflects this strengthened mandate.
In addition to the updated face mask/face covering requirement, USEF expects that:
We all share the enormous responsibility of doing our utmost to maintain a safe competition environment. It is no easy task. It can sometimes be uncomfortable, even unpleasant. However, in this significantly altered environment, these steps are necessary to keep our competitions as safe as possible and keep them operating. We cannot lose sight of the wide-reaching and devastating impacts facing our industry that would result from competitions being shut down due to failure to comply with mitigation efforts. If you are unwilling or unable to adhere to the COVID-19 requirements mandated by USEF or state and local agencies, please stay home and refrain from attending or operating USEF-recognized events until the pandemic resolves.
We continue to monitor and assess the pandemic impact, and we will keep you informed of any updates to our position as circumstances warrant or as instructed by the government and public health authorities.
The safety and welfare of our members and their horses remains our top priority, and everyone must do their part and take every step necessary to keep fellow competitors as safe and healthy as possible and to keep the competition environment open.
A case of EHV-1 (neurological) has been reported in Ocala, Florida, similar in nature, but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia (ESP) and other European countries. The horse was not shipped from Europe and was not on show grounds at the onset of symptoms. USEF is working closely with the Florida Department of Agriculture and state authorities who are completing contact tracing and identifying the potential source of the virus exposure.
Five-star eventer Kim Severson taught a show jumping clinic in January at Milestone Sport Horses in Lovettsville, Virginia where she instructed riders on the importance of forward riding for successful jumping. In this exercise, which Severson progressively adds additional pieces to, riders are instructed to focus on the quality of their canter.
On Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Central time, join Eric Dierks for a live stream interview with David O'Connor. David was an alternate for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and riding Wilton Fair, was part of the U.S. team at the 1990 World Equestrian Games, where he placed 35th individually and the team finished fourth.
Billy Jackson was introduced to horses at a young age through his local 4-H program. “One of my mom's close friends was a large animal vet and she really encouraged me to stay with it,” Jackson said. As an adult, he is a Marketing Project Manager, and when he’s not at work, he’s a lower level eventer based at Poplar Place Farm.