Representatives from the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the U.S. Dressage Federation hosted a webinar on May 22 to discuss changes to the dressage discipline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Shows are set to restart June 1, and panelists were comprised of USEF Managing Director of Dressage Hallye Griffin, USDF Executive Director Stephan Hienzsch, USDF President Lisa Gorretta, USDF Competitions Department Manager Krystina Wright, USEF Director of Competition Licensing, Evaluation and Safety Katlynn Sacco, USEF Director of Sport Will Connell and Olympian Adrienne Lyle.
The full webinar is available at USEF Network, but we’ve compiled a few key takeaways.
GAIG/USDF Regional Championships And U.S. Dressage Finals Are A Go
These competitions are still happening, though with alterations in qualifications and competition requirements due to the shortened season. Your pocketbook will rejoice at the fact that many competition-related fees have been waived to reduce the burden on competition managers as they reschedule or add additional competitions. Competitors will catch a break too, as the change of region fees are reduced. Qualification requirements have been relaxed as competitors may now earn both of their qualifying scores at the same show, and both scores can be from the same judge or judges’ panel. If you earned scores prior to June 1 during the 2020 qualifying period but did not pay a qualifying fee, you can now do so retroactively by reaching out to USEF, paying the fee, and it will be recorded as a qualifying score.
The USEF Festival Of Champions Also Has Some Changes.
The championships are scheduled to take place Aug. 18-23 at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois, and at this moment they are still on. Show management already has state approval to run hunter/jumper shows at the facility prior to the championship, so unless circumstances change, these championships should run as planned. To account for the shortened qualification period, qualifying requirements have been reduced, as have late fees. Each level has different requirements, which can be found here.
Equipment Checks Are Still Happening And Will Be Visual
Equipment checks will now be done at random (it will no longer be one-third of the class), and the number of competitors checked is up to the equipment checker and technical delegate. Inspections will be done visually, and if needed, the TD will follow the horse to a designated area to inspect tack and equipment. There will be a spot for the rider to measure their own whip within view of the checker, and riders will be responsible for removing bonnets. In cases of blood, the rider must dismount, and the TD will document the area with photos. Additional information regarding equipment checks can be found in the USDF Best Practices document.
Para-Dressage Has Not Been Forgotten
Connell made it clear that USEF officials plan on getting para-dressage competitions up and running again as soon as possible. However, with additional considerations such as caretakers, test callers and “friendly horses,” USEF officials are still working out guidelines and best practices. Those with medical reasons for not wearing a face mask can request a waiver through the USEF, and in time they hope to have it so that certain conditions are automatically granted a waiver.