All posts by Associate Editor

Virtual Windsor 2020 Set to Recreate Royal Windsor Horse Show Magic Online

The Organisers of Royal Windsor Horse Show have launched VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020, a new online hub, which is free to the equestrian community. This enterprising initiative aims to help fill the gap left by the cancellation of Royal Windsor Horse Show 2020 due to Covid-19.

VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will host exciting features, the Show’s 200 shops, virtual Showing competitions, training videos, social media feeds, and the best of online content from previous Royal Windsor Horse Shows and from the equestrian world at the moment.

The shops that would normally have a physical presence at the Show will be displayed on the hub, giving users the opportunity to access some of equestrian’s best brands, including the latest technical equipment, country and lifestyle collections, and clothing. One of the key drivers of the “Virtual RWHS Shopping Experience” are the deals some of which will be available exclusively on the platform.

Those visiting VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 can also enter online equestrian competitions, including a variety of Showing classes adhering closely to the original Royal Windsor Horse Show schedule. Those wishing to compete will upload their entry in the form of a photo to put them in the running, with applicants able to enter via email or social media. A Royal Windsor Horse Show judge will then select 10 finalists, before announcing the winner. The winners of each class will then progress to the Championships being judged on Sunday 17 May 2020.

To further help fill the void, VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will give users access to features from the official Royal Windsor Horse Show programme, content from the archives, guest bloggers, live Q&A sessions, and insights into Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021, which is already well into its planning stage. Giving equestrian fans a central hub to find training videos, light-hearted posts, the latest updates from top competitors, and tips from other riders, VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will support trainers, coaches, physios, and riders who may be struggling during this time.

Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said: “This online platform is a way for the equestrian community to come together; it aims to support and entertain, keeping the spirit of Royal Windsor Horse Show alive during this difficult time. The platform involves everyone, from fans to riders, shops, competitors, and officials.  We wanted to find a way that we could support the shops at the show and engage with our competitors and customers and I’m genuinely excited to see what we can accomplish. Our hope is that it will go part of the way towards recreating the magic in Windsor Castle’s iconic private grounds that we all expected to see in May.”

Ben Buxton, Events Manager of Fairfax and Favor, said: “Virtual Windsor is an exciting real and online opportunity for Fairfax and Favor to have a presence at one of the leading horse shows of the year. Whilst we may not see customers (both new and existing) in person, we relish the opportunity to connect with anyone who would have seen us, and let them see our range, including the launch of our Spring Summer 2020 collection.”

VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 can be found at https://virtual.rwhs.co.uk/.  The site will be constantly updated and will remain in place throughout the year.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show will return next year from 12-16 May 2021.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Stop Wild Horse Eradication Plan in Caliente Complex

The Cloud Foundation is fighting hard in federal court to stop BLM from zeroing out — or permanently removing — ALL wild horses in the remaining 6 HMAs of the Caliente Complex of eastern Nevada. While BLM claims the horses are destroying the range, they continue to permit thousands of cattle to graze in the same area.

Last month, a federal judge issued a ruling against us and the 1700+ wild horses who live in Caliente. Now the Cloud Foundation, along with Western Watershed Projects, is preparing to fight this bad ruling.

Our legal team is getting ready to file the appeal. We cannot concede defeat. If we do, these horses will lose their freedom forever — 1,700 more victims of the BLM’s sick system of wild horse imprisonment.

Lawsuits are expensive and we need your help. Thousands of wild horses are slated for removal if we don’t prevail.

We know this is a big ask in these unprecedented times. But without your help, these magnificent animals will lose their families and their freedom, and some will likely lose their lives. Please donate if you can to this worthy cause. Together, we will fight with everything we’ve got to keep them free. That’s our promise to you, and to them.

No donation is too small (or too big!). We know these are extraordinary times, but YOU are extraordinary people. Thank you for everything you do, for how much you care, and for your support of our work.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

USEF Provides COVID-19 Facts and Resources as Pandemic Changes Equestrian Life

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting equestrians’ routines around the country as barns employ social distancing techniques and increased human biosecurity practices, and, in at least some areas to date, even close to all but essential staff by choice or by local restrictions.

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Congress, President Deliver $2 Trillion Relief Package, Address Many Horse Industry Concerns

Following a week of intense negotiations, on Friday, March 27 House lawmakers finally passed – and the President signed into law – the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, teeing up approximately $2 trillion in emergency aid to American taxpayers, small business, independent contractors, and non-profits and charities. Because most equine enterprises characterize themselves as small businesses and include many non-profits such as state associations and equine rescue operations, the package addresses many challenges facing the horse industry.

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Equine Non-Profits Granted More Than $100,000 by USA Equestrian Trust – Deadline for 2020 Submissions Is April 22

USA Equestrian Trust® has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to help fund equine-focused projects by more than a dozen non-profits. The organizations receiving funding all submitted applications as part of the Trust’s 2019 application period. Since the inception of its grants program, the Trust has awarded more than $2.2 million in grants.

The Trust is also pleased to announce it is now accepting proposals from IRS-registered equine non-profit organizations for its 2020 grants program. To submit an application, visit trusthorses.org and complete the online form. Any organization applying must submit copies of its IRS non-profit determination letter and most recent Form 990, as well as a proposed budget for its project. The deadline to submit applications for the foundation’s 2020 grants program is 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 22.

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FEI Creates New Policy for Calculating World Rankings during Covid-19 Outbreak

As part of its measures aimed at minimising the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the FEI Calendar, the FEI has put in place a new policy for calculating the world rankings from 1 April until the Calendar returns to normal. The new policy was initially discussed with the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) specifically for the Longines Jumping Rankings, but will now be used for each of the disciplines where a rolling 12-month period is used for the calculations.

Starting from 1 April 2020, the period during which ranking points remain valid in Jumping (Longines Rankings), Eventing, Dressage, and Para Dressage will be prolonged by one month and will continue to be prolonged for an additional month with each new ranking until the competition calendar returns to normal.

Points earned in ranking competitions at events that take place during the current Covid-19 affected period will continue to count, and the maximum number of results that count for each athlete will remain, i.e. for the Longines Jumping Rankings best 30; Dressage best eight; Eventing and Para Dressage best six.

Rankings for the other FEI disciplines – Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, and Reining – are calculated on a fixed period (calendar year or other fixed period) so they will remain untouched. The change to the Driving Rules that means the discipline rankings will be based on a rolling 12 months does not come into effect until 1 January 2021.

For Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, and Para Dressage, the following system will apply:

– The rankings established after 29 February 2020 remain unchanged (points valid for 12 months: best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 29 February 2020)

– The rankings established after 31 March 2020 have been calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 March 2020 (points valid for 13 months)

– The rankings established after 30 April 2020 will be calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 30 April 2020 (points valid for 14 months)

– The rankings established after 31 May 2020 will be calculated based on the best results at events taking place between 1 March 2019 and 31 May 2020 (points valid for 15 months)

– and so on until the competition calendar returns to normal.

A working group will recommend to the FEI Board at what point the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal worldwide. As of that date, the rankings will continue to be calculated over the extended timeframes above, guaranteeing there will always be at least 12 months of normal competitions included in the calculation of the rankings.

The new system provides a level playing field for all our athletes as ranking points can still be earned in countries where the sport is able to continue, regardless of the length of time the current situation lasts, but athletes in countries where the sport is on hold will not lose points. An athlete’s ranking points can only improve, not decrease during this period, as the relevant number of best results in each discipline still applies.

Twelve months after the competition calendar is deemed to have returned to normal globally, the timeframe during which ranking points remain valid will be decreased by one month with each new ranking until the standard 12-month rolling timeframe has been reached.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

2020 Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Canceled

Lexington, Ky. – April 1, 2020 – It is with regret that in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis we must announce the cancellation of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, which were scheduled for May 5-10 and May 12-17, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park.  It is clear now that the country will at best be in a recovery phase and it will be too soon to ensure the safety of our staff, participants, and the wider community. Therefore, we must cancel.  Payments for stalls and entries which have already been made will be refunded.

We are hopeful that this trying time for all of us will pass and that life will return to some semblance of normality soon.  We will be publishing the prize list in the coming weeks for our Kentucky Summer Series.

Please exercise care in your daily lives and stay safe. For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.

Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Announces 2020 Cancellation

Devon, Pa. – March 30, 2020 – It is with deep disappointment that the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair (DHSCF) must announce the cancellation of the 124th DHSCF scheduled for May 21-31, 2020. This is only the second time that DHSCF has been cancelled – the first was for a three-year period during WWII. This decision was made only after significant evaluation of the far-reaching operational and financial implications. The organizers evaluated many options including postponement, and this decision was made independent of the CDC, USEF, and FEI as these organizations were unable to provide the necessary timelines for adequate planning. In fairness to the competitors, vendors, volunteers, and all others involved, the DHSCF believes that this decision is the best for everyone under the circumstances.

In the coming weeks, the DHSCF and its organizers will be contacting all stakeholders with information regarding cancellation processes. As the DHSCF grounds are now closed per state requirements, all staff is working remotely but will respond to all requests as quickly as possible.

The health and well-being of entire DHSCF community is of utmost importance at this time. The DHSCF encourages all of those involved to closely follow local, state, and national guidelines.

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair looks forward to celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2021! For additional information, please visit our website at www.DevonHorseShow.net.

Dressage4Kids Tips

Here is one of my favorite teaching tools off the horse. Your ability to follow the motion of your horse’s head and neck and to separate your arms from whatever your body is doing is extremely important. You can do this with a bridle as I did here or just with lead ropes or even twine. The “horse” (me in the photo) holds the reins on one end and the rider hold the reins in the normal fashion – as if she were riding with elbows bent and very slightly in front of her waist. The “horse” moves the reins forward and back both together and then each independently. If the rider has that teeny, tiny pull that enables her to keep the rein from ever becoming loose, but never tight, just taut, she can keep the same feel throughout. Then the rider walks in place, trots, and canters while the “horse” keeps moving the reins back and forth a bit. We do this on the trampoline for even more difficulty, but it can certainly be done on solid ground. Keep a soft fist. You will find it nearly impossible to do with a tight, hard fist.

A quick thought for those riding

Those of you lucky enough to be riding – first try the exercise above on the ground. Now get on your horse and just walk with long, not loose reins – can you stay with the horse’s mouth with exactly the same pressure throughout the stride? Does your rein get looser and tighter? Can you maintain exactly the same amount of pressure on both reins, so the bit is exactly centered in the horse’s mouth? It doesn’t matter at this moment where your horse’s head is. Just see if you can become part of him without ANY communication with him. Your arm and hand are an extension of his mouth and neck (and back). Some of you may find it very difficult to “do nothing” not fussing with the bit in some way.

Dressage4Kids | graydressage@gmail.com | dressage4kidsorg.presencehost.net

Old Friends Debuts Virtual Tours

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 30 2020 –  Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Kentucky, debuted the first in a series of Virtual Farm Tours that will enable fans to continue to access the non-profit organization’s 100-plus equine retirees at its Georgetown location during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The series, dubbed “Monday Mornings with Michael”, is hosted by Old Friends founder Michael Blowen and will offer short visits with a few equine retirees each week. They will be posted on Old Friends social media platforms on Monday mornings and will also be available via their website and YouTube channel.

The first video showcases Old Friends’ oldest retires, multiple stakes winner Dinard, who is 32, and one-time claimer Archie’s Echo, who is 31.

You can see it on YouTube by CLICKING HERE.

For more information, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

FEI President Welcomes Speedy Decision on Rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Dates

The FEI President has welcomed the announcement of the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will run from 23 July to 8 August, and for the Paralympic Games from 24 August until 5 September 2021.

“While it was of course demoralising for everyone that the Games had to be postponed from their original dates in 2020, the decision was absolutely right in the current terrible global pandemic, but it is really good to have the new dates agreed so soon,” Ingmar De Vos said.

“The decision was taken in full consultation with all the International Federations, including the FEI, and we all had the opportunity to voice our opinions. Now, once the Covid-19 crisis is over, our athletes across both Games can get their training back on track with confidence, knowing exactly when they and their horses need to be at their peaks.

“We are conscious of the fact that this has been a very complex decision for the IOC to make, with multiple factors to be taken into consideration. The athletes’ health and well-being across both Games not just for equestrian sport has to be the top priority, and we have all the protocols in place to protect our athletes – both human and equine – and help them to optimise their performance in the challenging climate we can expect in Tokyo.

“Of course, there will be an impact on the international Calendar across all sports, and from an FEI perspective this includes four major European Championships, but we are already looking at ways we can minimise that impact. The remit for our discipline-specific task forces that are evaluating the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 Calendar has now been expanded to cover 2021 and now we have confirmed dates for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We need to explore possible alternatives for a number of major FEI Events, notably the European Championships in Jumping, Dressage, and Para Dressage in Budapest and the European Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin, France. This process will be started immediately.”

The five-discipline European Championships in Budapest (HUN), which also include Driving and Vaulting, are currently due to run from 23-30 August 2021 and the Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin (FRA) from 11-15 August.

“We need to also look at deadlines for obtaining minimum eligibility requirements and extending the deadline for registration of ownership for Olympic horses and will announce those as soon as possible, but we have had confirmation from both the IOC and IPC that National Olympic and Paralympic Committees which have been allocated Olympic or Paralympic quota places will retain them despite the postponement of the Games to next year.”

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

Update on Marshall & Sterling Insurance League Competition

The Marshall & Sterling Insurance league recognizes these are extraordinary times. Upon careful consideration and high regard for recommendations from the CDC and local and state health officials, we have decided it is in the best interest of the League and its Member Riders and Shows to suspend all Marshall & Sterling sanctioned events effective immediately through May 3, 2020. For those competitions choosing to run, there will be no accumulation of points towards Marshall & Sterling Year-End Awards or Qualifying during this time.

The health, safety, and well-being of our members and the horse community is of utmost importance to the Marshall & Sterling League. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with the appropriate government officials and health experts and will reinstate League sanctioning when the health concerns are lifted. We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to follow these temporary guidelines to keep our members safe and healthy during this period.

We will post updates as needed on our website and the M&S Facebook page. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@HitsShows.com.