Dear USDF members,
As I write this message, the state of Ohio, like many other states, has entered a two-week lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This afternoon, US Equestrian announced that they are extending the moratorium on recording horse show results through May 3rd from the originally announced April 16th. This evening, your Executive Board approved at my request, a similar extension for both Dressage Competitions and any submitted schooling show results. In short, we are not through this yet. The impact is being felt worldwide and this deliberate, measured extension will provide, we hope, a sufficient cushion for the tide to turn.
I know that everyone is worried, if not downright frightened for their families, their livelihood, and their way of life; especially that part determined by a passion for horses and the sport of dressage. Some of you have even been told that you cannot visit, much less care for and ride your boarded dressage partner. As USDF President, I really want to be able to provide you with answers and solid solutions to the upheaval we are experiencing, but I can’t... at least not as of today.
As a licensed official (Dressage TD and FEI Steward), I have been educated in the need to look at all sides of a situation, consider the facts, and rely upon the rules before calmly arriving at a decision or recommendation. That is exactly how we need to approach this mess. You have questions, I know: your plans and goals for this year - will you be able to achieve them? NAYC? The Festival of Champions? Regional Championships? How will you be able to qualify when your shows have been cancelled? How will you get your last, or your first, score toward your rider medals? What if your young horse or your yearling cannot compete this season?
At this point, I can tell you that USDF, our staff, committees, and your Executive Board are committed to providing reasonable solutions and answers for your questions when, and as soon as, we can. Today, we can only hope that everyone takes this crisis very seriously so that it passes sooner over later. We must take this one day at a time. We dressage people tend to be longer range planners and many of us do not deal well with obstacles placed in our paths. But I fervently request that you do your best to summon patience now. We are closely following all related equestrian organizations, as well as the directions and mandates from the government. When an “all clear“ is sounded, we will look at the “where, when, and how” of our programs and competitions, with all due speed and concern for a (nationally) reasonable, level playing field. This, I can promise, to all USDF members.
We will all get through this eventually, but only with your continued support, your shared concern for everyone in our sport at every level, and everyone’s agreement that it is better to get accurate information and details than fast fake news and ever changing information because it is based upon erroneous or unsupported information. Let us keep our eye on the ball. This is a potentially life-threatening disease. It has a real chance to be devastating on so many levels in the US. First, we must deal with these undeniable facts and then we can direct our focus to our sport.
Thank you for your e-mails and letters of support. Please take care of yourself and others.