The 2020 competition year continues to challenge everyone in the equestrian community. Now, the impacts initially caused by the pandemic are being amplified on the West Coast due to the tragic wildfires affecting the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. In light of these devastating wildfires, concerns over air quality are ever-present since both humans and equines can be equally impacted.
USEF believes the decision by organizers to operate, suspend, or cancel competitions due to compromised air quality is best made by each individual organizer, because venue conditions can vary and can change rapidly depending upon weather, geography, and other factors. In order to make the most informed decision, competition organizers must consult with state and local health authorities and government agencies and should frequently review the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines involving air quality at AirNow.gov to determine whether or not to operate their events. Additionally, to best protect the health and safety of both equine and human competitors, the USEF strongly recommends that, in situations where the Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 151 or above, an organizer consider suspending or canceling competition. In cases of cancellation, organizers must inform competitors about refund or credit policies.
Similarly, members must conduct their own risk assessment with regard to air quality based on the situation in their area and determine whether to compete. Certainly, anyone with underlying medical conditions should individually consider not competing in situations where the AQI is in the orange zone of 101 to 150. Many resources exist to monitor the air quality including AirNow.gov, a website formed in a collaborative effort by several national agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Weather Service, the CDC, and many others. AirNow.gov reports air quality using the official, color-coded U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI).
On this episode of the Equiratings Eventing Podcast, show host Nicole Brown talks to Pan American Games gold medalist and U.S. team stalwart Boyd Martin about his career to date, highs and lows, and coming back from injury.
On Monday, March 8 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, USEF will host a member webinar providing updates on the impacts of the case of EHV-1 (neurological) reported in Ocala, Florida. This case is similar in nature, but unrelated to the neurological strain of EHV-1 impacting Valencia (ESP) and other European countries.
As competitors rise through the levels, they often see the costs associated with competition rise and, unfortunately for most organizers, this can’t be avoided. With fewer competitors requiring more jumps, officials, footing management, etc., the expenses for running higher levels – especially FEI – are greater than lower levels.
Our sport is going to present you with many amazing opportunities, and some equally amazing challenges. While you’re sure to enjoy the opportunities, it sometimes takes a little more effort to enjoy the challenges. Contrary to the common misconception (from non-equestrians) that our sport is easy, it’s actually one of the hardest and most demanding sports of all!