It's time to face facts, Covid-19 will really affect the 2020 competition season
We for one are worried we won't be able to get our horsey fix at events during the summer and during these uncertain times we thought you would be interested in finding out a bit more about how the year ahead could shape up!
We will start with the good news - Horses can catch Coronavirus - but not Covid-19
Although there is a strain of Coronavirus that can effect our horses the strain causing the current pandemic is very unlikely to spread to our animals.
Ken Smith, professor of companion animal pathology and head of pathobiology and population sciences at the Royal Veterinary College explained the science ahead of the Cheltenham festival.
"There is no evidence at present that either the equine Coronavirus is able to jump species or vice versa" describes Smith.
"It is the case that coronaviruses like other viruses have the capacity, not often, to jump species, particularly where the two species are coming into close contact with each other, but it is a rare event in the grand scheme of things,"
Eventing is the most watched equestrian discipline and the ruling body is British Eventing. We are privileged to attend all the large horse trails and we believe they are not just a sporting events they are a community.
Currently BE is following government guide lines to the letter -
"In light of the government announcement today, the Board of British Eventing has taken the very difficult decision to cancel all events with immediate effect.
The government advice has been to minimise social contact and non-essential travel, and the restrictions on the support of the emergency services means that the responsible decision is to take all action necessary not to further burden the NHS or risk members' safety at events.
We thank all of our members, organisers, officials, volunteers and staff for their support during these unprecedented times. We will continue to monitor the situation and will resume sporting activity as soon as we are able.
For those events that have passed ballot date, members will have their entries refunded under the abandonment insurance and those pre-ballot will be refunded in full.
We will update you all as soon as we have any further information."
Although British Eventing did a fantastic job trying to keep these events running we must prepare for what could be coming.
It is likely that the UK government will ban all mass gatherings within the next few weeks and the virus isn't going anywhere fast and we are expected to feel its effects for at least 3 months.
FEI recommends cancellation of FEI Events due to Coronavirus
The FEI have gone as far as recommending all affiliated competitions should be cancelled.
"We as a community have to make our contribution to limit the spread of this virus, as the sooner it can be contained the sooner we will be able to get back to normal life and normal sport. And this is something that every other sport is doing." https://inside.fei.org/fei/your-role/medical-safety/coronavirus/cancel-13-march-2020
We expect that other bodies with follow suit soon.
Olympics and Paralympics
2020 was scheduled to be a huge one, with the British team in great shape to bring back lots of medals from Japan.
"The International Olympic Committee remains fully committed to staging the Tokyo 2020 Games as scheduled this summer, despite Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto suggesting it could be postponed until later in the year."
Many Equestrian business's will struggle
The shows and events are so ingrained in equestrian retail life that we and other companies week in and week out bring the largest selection of equestrian products to a field near you.
If the shows and events are cancelled it will have a huge affect on what is already a very challenging retail environment.
Scientifically its very unlikely that our animals will be affected.
All major sporting events and mass gatherings over 500 people could cancelled within a week.
Governing bodies will have to rethink qualification for events in the latter part of year.
The Olympics is at risk of being delayed or being held behind closed doors.
Equestrian business's will have to become more dynamic to operate without the shows and you may find that they are having to discount online in order to make up for trade missing at events.