RDS Announces Cancellation of the Dublin Horse Show 2020

The following statement was released on April 20, 2020 from the Royal Dublin Society regarding the cancellation of the Dublin Horse Show 2020.

It is with great regret that the Royal Dublin Society has decided that the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Dublin Horse Show scheduled for July 15-19, 2020 will be canceled due to ongoing concerns regarding the continuing impact of the coronavirus.

Photo by Dublin Horse Show via Twitter.

Since the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in January, the Society has constantly monitored the situation and followed guidance from the Irish Government and the Health Service Executive.

The health and safety of all of those who come together for the Horse Show has been a priority for the RDS in making this decision. This includes visitors from Ireland and from around the world, competitors, volunteers, trade exhibitors, RDS Members, staff, partners, contractors and suppliers. The RDS responsibility to contribute to the national effort in controlling the virus in Ireland was an important factor in this decision.

The scale of the Show necessitates preparations beginning months in advance, with horses in training around Ireland for the many national competitions held as part of the Show. Qualifiers scheduled to begin this month are unable to proceed this year in the current circumstances. In addition, the RDS begins its on-site preparations many months in advance of the five-day Show which attracts over 100,000 visitors.

The decision by the RDS to cancel the 2020 Horse Show followed detailed deliberation of all these factors. The importance of the Show to the sport horse industry was also part of the considerations. The decision reached was that cancellation of this year’s Show was in the best interests of public health and safety and that providing certainty at this early stage would be beneficial to everyone involved, from the visiting public, to the sport horse industry, to key partners of the Show.

All tickets purchased by phone or online will be automatically refunded by Ticketmaster. Ticketholders are asked to allow 7-10 working days for the funds to appear in their account. For tickets purchased through an outlet customers are asked to return to the point of sale (rewardingtimes.ie and pigsback.ie for instance).

Chief Executive of the RDS, Michael Duffy, said: “The RDS did not come to this decision lightly and only after detailed considerations of all the factors involved. However, we believe it is the most responsible decision we can make in the best interests of public health and safety. We understand that this will disappoint many members of the public and that it will have implications for many horse breeders and producers around the country. However, we trust that everyone will understand and support a decision made in the national interest. It is incumbent on all of us to do everything we can to support the measures introduced by the Government.”

Commenting on the certainty this decision provides: “The Horse Show is a very important part of the sport horse industry and we understand the effects this decision will have on the industry and the community. But certainty is also crucial for breeders and producers, as well as our partners and sponsors who support the Show every year. Trade exhibitors are also an important part of the Horse Show’s appeal each year and they too will appreciate the clarity.  We are in discussion with the FEI in relation to the dates for the 2021 Horse Show and we will announce these dates when they are confirmed to us.’’

The Show holds a unique place in the Dublin’s summer calendar and the RDS looks forward to 2021 when we will welcome back tens of thousands of visitors to the 147th Show.

In the past, the Show was cancelled in 1914-1918, and also in 1940 due to World War II. It continued with national show jumping competitions only during the period 1941-1945. Swamp fever canceled the competition for the Aga Khan trophy in 1966, but the remainder of Show proceeded as normal.

About the Dublin Horse Show

The full title for all five days of the Show is the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Dublin Horse Show.  The Show is widely considered to be one of the best equestrian shows in the world and is operated by the RDS on a not-for-profit basis in order to make it the best possible Show to support the Irish sport horse industry. The RDS manages, resources and underwrites the CSIO 5* Show each year, which had a total cost of €5.4 million in 2019. Equestrianism is vital way in which the RDS fulfills its mission of contributing to a culturally and economically vibrant Ireland.  In 2019 the Show had a total prize fund of €1.2 million and celebrated the centenary of women competing in show jumping at the Dublin Horse Show.