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British Eventing makes plans to resume sport as lockdown is eased

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Rider going cross-country in a body protector

Are you desperate to squeeze in an event or two this season? Find out how British Eventing plans to proceed with training and competition as restrictions on travel and gatherings are relaxed

 With riders across England now able to take their horses out and about again, many have been left feeling more optimistic about a return to competition later this year. But how realistic is this hope? British Eventing (BE) has set out its plan for resumption of sport with its socially distant model.

Overall, BE will continue to meet all government and British Equestrian (BEF) requirements on social distancing during events and training, while creating a safe environment for sport to take place. Over time, it will develop a competition structure and fixtures list that venues and organisers will be able and feel confident in delivering. It also notes that safety and readiness of competitors will be its main focus as we progress out of lockdown.

As the government continues to relax restrictions on non-essential travel, BE has set out three phases of sport…

  • phase one – fitness and training This means all riding and training activities will follow guidance from the BEF
  • phase two – train to compete In partnership with BE organisers, venues and coaches, BE will support and guide members as they prepare for a return to competition
  • phase three – competition As the government allows phased resumption of competitive sport, governing bodies – BE and the BEF – will remain in communication to provide strict guidance and control in order to keep members safe

Some key protocols and changes have been outlined to help maintain social distancing and keep competitors safe when competition is resumed…

  • there will be no public, spectators, companion or non-competing horses or dogs allowed at any times
  • competitor numbers will likely be limited to reduce the traffic at venues, and single riders will be asked to have a maximum of one other person with them. Riders with multiple horses may have a maximum of two supporters or grooms
  • competitors will need to print their own numbers prior to the event from a standard BE template
  • a 10m gap between each vehicle will be required in the lorry park
  • competitors may be given arrival and exit times to ensure gathering restrictions are met
  • riders will be required to keep their distance in the warm-up, and may be given a set amount of time to warm-up for each phase
  • there will be no onsite refreshments or trade stands and strict hygiene protocols will be in place for toilets
  • there will be no scoreboards at the venue, so scores will have to be accessed online through the BE website or other live scoring platform
  • no formal prizegivings will be held, and prize money will be paid via BACS
  • non-compliance with social distancing will result in disqualification from competition and no entries from the offender will be accepted until further notice
  • all outdoor events will be closely scrutinised by enforcement agencies, so venues must follow guidelines to ensure a safe continuation of sport
  • ridden members may be encouraged or mandated to provide a volunteer shift in return for entries to allow sport to resume
  • riders will be responsible for keeping up to date with BE and BEF rulings, so I’s important to check prior to training or competition for changes

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