On March 13, U.S. Equestrian Federation President Murray Kessler and Chief Executive Officer Bill Moroney sent out an email to the membership regarding COVID-19. This comes after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11 and many shows voluntarily elected to suspend competition (you can see a running list here).
The letter is as follows:
Your health, safety and well-being and that of your horses is paramount to USEF. We are continuing to closely monitor communications on the COVID-19 Pandemic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI).
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all USEF owned events, selection trials, training camps, clinics, and activities will be suspended for the next 30 days. Additionally, USEF strongly recommends that competition organizers suspend all USEF licensed competitions across the country for the next 30 days and that equestrians do not compete for the next 30 days. For those competitions that do run, there will be no accumulation of points, scores, money won, qualifications, or rankings toward any USEF awards programs, USEF owned event, or selection to a US team during this 30-day time period. This includes USEF National Championships.
If you choose to compete, USEF recommends that you take immediate steps to limit your exposure and create social distancing. Based on information and guidance, in particular, from the CDC, the USEF provides the following recommendations to our membership. Participate in events that:
• Are venues within close proximity (driving distance) to your residence;
•Limit out of state competitors (and for currently operating winter circuits limit new out of state competitors);
•Restrict free access in stabling areas to only essential personnel (ie; riders, grooms, farriers, vets, officials);
• Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer at in-gates, competition offices, vendors and convenient places throughout the competition grounds;
• Ensure restroom facilities are regularly cleaned;
• Operate without spectators;
• Limit social gatherings to less than 250 people as recommended by the CDC; and
• Ensure that food services are of the type that limit contamination, buffets are strongly discouraged.
We are providing these same recommendations to Competition Organizers and asking them to comply within the next few days. Some may choose not to cancel their event but, all are expected to take steps to limit exposure and create social distancing. Some may impose additional restrictions and safety measures in line with guidance from local public health authorities. Therefore, we are requiring organizers to post all relevant information to their website and provide it to the USEF Competitions Department.
We are counting on you to make responsible decisions based on the information available, the conditions in your geographic area and the recommendations from your local public health authorities. USEF will continue to assess the situation on a daily basis and will update our position as circumstances warrant.
Resources from the CDC, WHO, USOPC, and the FEI are available on the USEF website (click here). Links found on this webpage provide you with direct access to valuable information on each organization’s website which is updated regularly.