Coronavirus has prompted the cancellation of dozens of high-level equestrian events, with horse sport’s governing body recommending cancellation of all FEI events for the next month.
Among the casualties are the World Cup Finals for dressage and showjumping in Las Vegas scheduled for April, The Dutch Masters 2020 in The Netherlands, and from March 16, all US Equestrian Federation events, trials and activities until mid April.
The cancellations followed recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding mass gatherings and Covid-19 risks.
“It is very regrettable that next month’s FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas have had to be cancelled, but the decision was out of our hands.” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.
It is the first time the FEI World Cup series has had to be cancelled. The series began in 1978 for Jumping and in 1985 for Dressage. “The global concerns about the spread of the virus and the travel restrictions imposed by the US Government have meant that the Finals are one of many major sporting events impacted by this outbreak,” De Vos said.
In recommending cancellation of events, the FEI said: “We as a community have to make our contribution to limit the spread of this virus, as the sooner it can be contained the sooner we will be able to get back to normal life and normal sport. And this is something that every other sport is doing.”
It was not known how many events would be impacted or long the current situation will last.
“We have decided that calendar fees for events that have had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 will be waived. We are also assessing the impact of cancellations of Events on other areas such as ranking points and on athletes and horses seeking MERs for the Olympic or Paralympic Games and qualifications for FEI Championships.”
“We can guarantee you that we are monitoring the situation hour-by-hour and that we are constantly looking at what specific situations need to be addressed. Our thoughts are with all of you and we strongly believe that our community will do the right thing and work to support each other through this crisis.”
In a communication to members, the USEF said those who choose to continue competing should “take immediate steps to limit your exposure and create social distancing”.