Morven Park Horse Trials organizers have canceled their inaugural CCI4*-L due to concerns over COVID-19.
The event, scheduled for Oct. 1-4 in Leesburg, Virginia, will still host national divisions from beginner novice through advanced.
This would have been the first time a CCI4*-L was offered at Morven Park.
The event was awarded a fall CCI4*-L after a fall CCI5*-L went to Fair Hill. That inaugural event, the Maryland CCI5*, has also been canceled for 2020.
Morven Park staff members were anticipating a record number of competitors, volunteers and officials from around the United States and other countries. Additionally, inaugural CCI2*YH-S and CCI3*YH-S levels had been planned to showcase up-and-coming horses.
Morven Park has been working for months to prepare for the FEI levels of competition. Ultimately, the increased risk of hosting an international horse trials amid rising COVID-19 cases, compounded with the additional cost of safety measures, proved to be too great.
“This decision was about safety,” said Sheryl Williams, the park’s executive director. “Running an event of this scale is difficult, but to try to host FEI levels during a global pandemic proved to be too taxing on our resources and too risky for everyone’s health. This adjusted format allows us to move forward with competition and provide a great weekend of eventing.”
While spectators won’t be allowed to attend the Morven Park Fall Horse Trials due to COVID-19 restrictions, Morven Park’s media sponsor, Eventing Nation, will stream the competition live on their website. Streaming details will be released closer to the event date and will be available on MorvenPark.org/HorseTrials and EventingNation.com.
In addition to the Morven Park Fall Horse Trials, the 2020 calendar has been expanded to include the Morven Park Winter Horse Trials, scheduled for Nov. 14–15, 2020. Beginner novice through preliminary competition will be offered.