The following letter was released by US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney on August 6.
Over the past several days, US Equestrian and the United Stated Hunter Jumper Association have made the difficult decision to cancel several national championships, and at the same time Kentucky Horse Shows LLC canceled two weeks of hunter/jumper competition at the Kentucky Horse Park due to multiple reports of positive COVID-19 cases.
As we look ahead in what continues to be a challenging and unpredictable year, we remain fully committed to keeping equestrian competitions viable during this pandemic. While to date we have seen more than 390 competitions run successfully across the country, we must take a moment to reiterate and emphasize to our membership the role each of us plays in minimizing the risk of potential exposure to the virus. Non-compliance with the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for Competitions can affect our ability to keep competitions going.
Regardless of your role, it is your personal duty to comply with protocols to keep the sport alive. Non-compliance negatively impacts those around you, whether they be competitors, colleagues, clients, or staff.
It is critical to acknowledge that some level of risk will exist in our competition environments as long as the pandemic continues. In order to minimize the risk of transmission, it is imperative that all individuals comply with the following:
- Wear a face mask or cloth face covering at all times
- Practice social distancing
- Frequently wash hands or use hand sanitizer
- If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past fourteen (14) days, you cannot enter any competition grounds. The CDC definition of close contact can be found here.
Science supports the effectiveness of these practices when they are applied strictly and consistently. One individual’s disregard for these important requirements can drastically undermine the dedicated efforts of others. Whether you are at a competition or in another public setting, you need to continue practicing the protocols, as the threat of exposure exists everywhere.
The reporting process for positive cases is critical to containment and essential to the ultimate success of our Action Plan. If reporting does not occur, our Action Plan is unsustainable and the risk of transmission significantly increases for those at competition venues. As a community, we need to encourage and support the bravery of individuals who come forward to report positive cases rather than vilify them.
We commend the exhibitors, participants, organizers, competition managers, officials and staff who have remained vigilant as we continue our efforts to move equestrian sport forward.
The pandemic has stirred strong emotions in us all. There is a critical need for our community to shoulder the responsibility and commitment of keeping each other as safe as possible while enjoying the sport we love. Our behaviors today will dictate what we can do tomorrow.
Chief Executive Officer, US Equestrian