The first two weeks of schooling shows at Equestrian Village wrapped up on Sunday, May 31, after a successful reopening of the facility following the COVID-19 closures in mid-March. While the situation continues to evolve daily, the Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) staff was hard at work to ensure the safety of all its exhibitors, trainers and staff during competition. New protocols were put into place, including specific points of entry complete with thermal scanners, an online system for show entries, and social distancing across the grounds.
Photo by ESP.
A total of fifteen security guards, five dedicated cleaning personnel, two paramedics and two Palm Beach County fire rescue crew members were stationed at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center to assist with these protocols. Another fifty-six ESP staff members were on-site to operate the competition and oversee social distancing. Approximately seven gallons of hand sanitizer, one thousand pairs of gloves, and six hundred masks were utilized over the past two weeks.
Although public sentiment for attending public events varies across the country, the first two weeks of ESP competition showed that equestrians are ready to get back in the show ring. During the May Schooling I Show (May 22-24), a total of 412 horses were entered, while Schooling II (May 29-31) had 473 horses compete. Entries are expected to rise for the upcoming June Show Series, which will feature Equitation Days, USEF “A” National and Jumper 4* level competition.
Photo by ESP.
“Overall, everyone was very respectful of our new policies and obeyed the rules for wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart,” stated David Burton Jr., Show Manager and COO of Equestrian Sport Productions. “I think everyone was just happy to be back and showing again and returning to some sort of ‘normal.’ However, it’s very important that all exhibitors continue to help us with these protocols so we can continue operating.”
Photo by ESP.
Here’s what to expect if you are planning to compete at PBIEC in the coming weeks:
- Come prepared with your own face mask and gloves. If you forget yours, packs of both are available for purchase in the show office for $10, with proceeds going to charity.
- Enter the show grounds at Checkpoint D for thermal camera detection.
- All ESP Staff will be wearing yellow vests, reminding you to stay 6 feet apart and wear your mask properly (covering nose and mouth).
- Mounted riders do not need to have a mask on, but must wear one as soon as they dismount.
- Hand sanitizing stations and newly installed temporary sinks have been placed around the grounds for continued cleansing.
- Refrigerators with free, individual water bottles have been placed by each arena for exhibitors.
- Prepare to stand in designated positions when entering the show office and only entering when capacity is under 6 people.
- Only 2 people are allowed at each jump in the warm up ring (one person per jump standard).
- Course maps are uploaded online HERE the night before competition to reduce congregating by the in-gates.
- Live streaming will be available HERE for each arena so friends and family can safely watch from home.
- For a full list of all safety protocols, click here.
Photo by ESP.
Additional notes from ESP include the following:
TRAINERS: As we prepare for larger entry numbers and on-site stabling to be at full capacity, please remember that it is YOUR responsibility to uphold the safety protocols within the barns at PBIEC. This area is very difficult for ESP Staff to monitor, so we need you to maintain your barn area to the same standards that ESP is applying to the rest of the show grounds. One picture of incorrect behavior in the barns could be catastrophic for the whole sport.
INSIGHT FROM THOSE WHO ATTENDED THE SCHOOLING SHOWS: We would appreciate insight from those involved in our sport and encourage anyone who joined us for the schooling shows to complete our survey HERE.
- ESP Staff and Officials
- Essential Personnel (Vets, Farriers, etc. actively treating horses on the grounds)
- Trainers (that have exhibitors competing today)
- Grooms (that have clients competing today)
- Riders (that are competing today)
- One Guest per Rider (One family member or one friend of the rider)
REAL TIME TEXT UPDATES: ESP is also working on ways to keep its competitors updated in real time while on-site, with a new texting service. Those who opt-in will receive texts regarding impending weather alerts, safety reminders, links to course maps, and more. To opt-in, click here.