When Will Horse Riding (Equestrian) Competitions Fully Return to the US?

Photo © Lauren Mauldin

The COVID-19 pandemic and the socializing restrictions imposed to curb its spread has affected almost every community, profession, and industry globally. The Equestrian industry is no exception. The athletes have not been able to practice or compete in events remotely, unlike people in other professions. This has developed an economic crisis on the verge of an emergency.

As premier events like the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics stand cancelled or postponed, many equestrian organizations are starting to feel the heat. With daily expenses like feeding and caring for the horses, meeting staff salaries, etc. mounting, many trainers, riders, and owners have had to look for alternate ways of safeguarding their business against financial doom.

Further dampening the mood, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) cancelled all events and tournaments, selection trials, and medical camps for 30 days, effective March 16, 2020. For USEF-licensed tournaments that were allowed to continue, the authorities announced that no points, scores, qualifications, rankings, or money would accumulate during the period.

The Road Ahead

The suspension was further extended till May 31, with the authorities gradually re-opening USEF-approved events from June 1. While many major events stand cancelled, the USEF approved over a hundred modifications to its rulebook to assist event organizers in rescheduling competitions. New rules were also drafted to ensure the organizers took significant steps to prevent virus transmission among the participants, organizers, and spectators.

The changelog is accessible on the official USEF website and contains all COVID-19 resources and official updates, including the most recent COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan. One crucial resource is the FAQ weblink, which contains answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the future of USEF-approved competitions this year.

The 2020 Adequan USEF Futures Team Challenge

The USEF recently announced the roster of the 2020 Adequan USEF Futures Team Challenge. The event is scheduled to go live in East Coast, Unionville, PA, between September 16 and October 11. The competition allows amateur athletes to familiarize themselves with team events in an unofficial format at the CC13 and CC14 levels.

The concept was finalized by the US Eventing Director of High Performance, Erik Duvander, who formed a highly-defined structure for current and future events held within the purview of the Equestrian board. The two teams participating in the event this year will be coached by Mr. Duvander and the USEF Eventing Development and Emerging Coach, Leslie Law. Both of whom will serve as the Chef d’Equipe for their respective teams.

Each day’s results will be published on the US Eventing Association (USEA) and USA Eventing’s Facebook pages. At the same time, the results will be calculated according to the regulations of the FEI Nations Cup. Only the top three scores will be taken into account while the athletes’ points will weigh independently.

Although the authorities are yet to take a final call on a deadline for things to get back to normal in the United States, efforts are being made in full swing to get the industry back on its feet.