Tag Archives: COVID-19

IHSA Board of Directors Votes to Cancel 2021 Postseason

Photo by Nicole Sullivan.

Gladys, Va. – Jan. 9, 2021 –The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) board of director members convened virtually Jan. 6-8 for their bi-annual meeting. Among the tallied votes on multiple topics, the decision was determined to cancel the 2021 IHSA postseason, specifically Hunter Seat Zone Finals, Western Semi-Finals, and the National Championship Horse Show, due to COVID-19.

“With the ongoing pandemic and numbers on the rise, the board voted with the safety and well-being of the membership in mind,” said Peter Cashman, IHSA executive director. “We understand how disappointing it is to membership, many who have been unable to compete this academic year.”

Cashman noted the board has been listening to the leadership of its 400-plus member colleges and universities who continue to be challenged with making tough decisions regarding students’ return to campus, participation in sports, and travel restrictions.

“It’s a large organization with 10,000 members,” Cashman said. “The board has agonized over this situation that has forced us to decide to cancel the IHSA postseason for the second consecutive year. We look forward with the hopes that the vaccine will prevent the spread and allow the country to relax restrictions and allow the schools to resume competition in the fall.”

The board announced that the IHSA would offer two online horse shows through DigitalHorseShow.com during the spring semester. The Inaugural IHSA Online Horse Show was successfully held during the 2020 fall semester, providing an opportunity for those members and teams who continue to ride and practice to compete across the membership. The spring events will again be open to all IHSA undergraduate and alumni members and will include a horsemanship element. Show dates and prize lists will be available soon.

For more information, go to IHSAinc.com or contact media@IHSAinc.com.

Will Crowds Be Returning to Horse Racing in 2021?

Photo by Carine06 from UK – Champion Hurdle, CC BY-SA 2.0.

2020 has been a rather strange year for many of us due to the global pandemic caused by Covid-19; many industries have been affected because of this, and none more than live sporting events. When it comes to horse racing, they were one of the last events to have a live crowd at Cheltenham, but since then, there have been zero fans at events at all. With the virus finally starting to slow down, we might start to see fans back in 2021 and below we investigate further.

Spectators will return at outdoor events from December 2, with up to 4,000 fans able to return to the racing.

With the UK coming out of lockdown 2.0 on the 2nd of December, the government has now released a plan in terms of the gradual return of supporters back into live events from this date. However, this is all dependent on which tier that specific region is in to see if you are able to return to the live event – these are documented below.

Tier 1, which is notified as a medium risk by the government for the spread of the coronavirus and will allow up to 4,000 socially distanced fans back to live sports from the 2nd of December.

Tier 2, which is notified as high risk by the government will be allowed to have up to 2,000 spectators back at live sporting fans as long as they are socially distanced: half the amount of a Tier 1 region.

However, if you find yourself in a Tier 3 location, unfortunately you will have to wait slightly longer to return to a live sporting event as these areas are highlighted as very high risk and therefore no fans will be allowed back yet.

Of course, this is exciting times for horse racing fans who have certainly missed the buzz of watching and punting on their favourite horses coming down the home stretch. Although the numbers are limited as of now, we expect these numbers to be increased as times go on and specifically when the vaccine have been passed by all the governing bodies.

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Clip-a-Thon to Benefit EAF’s COVID Emergency Fund for Industry Professionals

Wellington, Fla. — Oct. 23, 2020 — Freelance groom Tim Gaskell and lifelong equestrian and marketing professional Kayla Wright are back in action for a second round of their wildly successful Clip-a-Thon, and this time, they’re bringing friends.

When the COVID-related industry shutdown wreaked financial havoc for many equestrian professionals last spring, the duo planned and executed a 24-hour, live-streamed clipping marathon to raise money for their struggling colleagues. The result of their effort was a $10,000 donation to EAF’s COVID Emergency Relief Fund for industry professionals.

With COVID cases appearing to be on the rise again, Gaskell is uneasy about what the coming months might hold for grooms, braiders, horse show staff, and other workers — many of who are just tenuously back on their feet after the initial shutdown. “I’m not confident about what’s going to happen this winter,” said Gaskell while driving a load of horses to Kentucky last month. “Let’s do a second Clip-a-Thon so there’s money for COVID relief in case people need it.”

That Clip-a-Thon begins on Monday, Oct. 26. Like the first event, it will be live-streamed on Facebook via The Clip-a-Thon’s event page. Gaskell will be joined by an enthusiastic lineup of guest clippers from all over the country, all of whom will be donating their proceeds to EAF’s COVID Emergency Fund. “I love to support EAF because their mission allows professionals of all types to survive all sorts of setbacks,” said trainer Katie Wild, who will be clipping from southeastern Pennsylvania on Monday. “Whether it is COVID, cancer, a bad fall — the little things like groceries and gas that can be taken for granted are a necessity for others!”

How to Get Involved

  • Visit the live feed between 8 a.m. on Monday and 8 p.m. Tuesday to show your support for Tim, Kayla, and the clippers — and most importantly, our industry’s workers. Learn more about the Clip-a-Thon’s prizes and drawings, and make a donation while you’re there!
  • Sponsor an hour of the Clip-a-Thon. Join a growing list of dedicated individuals and businesses like Shapley’s and On Course Consignment who are standing in solidarity with equestrian professionals during this difficult time. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Tim Gaskell.
  • Donate a clip job to EAF’s COVID Emergency Fund! Do you have a hairy horse? Contact Kayla Wright if you’d like to clip on the live stream. Or just share a picture to the Clip-a-Thon’s Facebook page when you’ve finished clipping. Proceeds can be donated to the Clip-a-Thon or directly to the Equestrian Aid Foundation.
  • Make a donation in honor of your braider, groom, clipper, shipper — that dedicated worker (or workers) who makes your horse world go ’round. We’ll be sure they get special mention on the Clip-a-Thon’s live feed.

About EAF’s COVID Emergency Fund

In March of 2020, the Equestrian Aid Foundation opened its Disaster Relief Fund to assist equestrian professionals and industry service providers in unexpected financial crisis as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund remains open to help workers who continue to struggle as a direct result of COVID-related cancellations and disruptions within the industry. To date, 274 grants have been issued.

For more information, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

2020 National Horse Show COVID-19 Protocols Released

Lexington, KY – Sept. 14, 2020 – The COVID-19 Protocols for the 2020 National Horse Show are now available for review. Scheduled to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park from October 23 – November 1, the National Horse Show is looking forward to hosting top equestrian sport in a safe environment for all competitors. This year, strict COVID-19 protocols will be enforced for all participants. The COVID-19 Protocols are based on the best practices from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).

To make sure everyone is still able to be with us safely from home, The National Horse Show will be offering free live streaming coverage of the event via ShowNet and ClipMyHorse TV.

In addition to the COVID-19 protocols, the 2020 National Horse Show will not be offering any VIP seating or Rider’s Lounge. These adjustments are for the safety of our members, competition organizers, staff, parents, and all involved.

To maintain social distancing standards, the 2020 event will not exceed 25% capacity in the Alltech Arena at any time.

Please check the nhs.org website regularly for event updates. Any questions regarding the event and changes to rules and regulations may be addressed to Cindy@nhs.org.

What Preakness Stakes Betting Odds and Field Looks Like in the New Normal

Image Source.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of havoc in the world. The sports industry is one of the most affected industries, leading to a major setback and schedule changes since the start of this year. Some tournaments got suspended while others are coming back, following the full health protocols imposed by the government.

Although many sports faced an indefinite suspension this year, the U.S. Triple Crown Series has fortunately found a way to continue the horse racing games. However, it had a unique arrangement this year, where the Belmont Stakes launched the series, followed by the Kentucky Derby, and closed by the Preakness Stakes.

Taking the last piece of the Triple Crown Series today is the Preakness Stakes. Aside from the concluding show, it will hail a possible Triple Crown winner. While it’s still early to find out the 2020 Preakness Stakes odds, here’s what the whole Preakness Stakes field will look like in today’s new normal.

2020 Preakness Stakes Main Superstars

With the Derby trails and pre-Triple Crown races accomplished this month, fans can anticipate the best horses in the field. Earlier this year, several Derby-prep races settled in notable racecourses, which helped the horses to earn the needed points. Apart from that, other racing tournaments let the colts earn significant placements, which boost their odds.

So, in the upcoming 145th renewal of the Run For The Black-Eyed Susans, only the best all-three-year old thoroughbreds are gracing the dirt track. Hence, you should not miss watching this event, as everyone can see a head-to-head challenge. You can witness an intense showdown that will help you get up your feet and take your breath away.

Massive Betting Games

With all the major changes happening in the Triple Crown Series today, one thing that remained consistent is the betting games. Punters can still look forward to the complete betting categories they can wager to boost their bankroll. There are simple betting games and the challenging ones that let you test your betting prowess.

In the upcoming Preakness Stakes, there are already horses who sent their bid to run inevitably. Their odds and lines are already up, so you might want to review them. Remember that there is no consistent formula you can apply to pick deserving bets. However, if you know how to study each line movement and racehorse’s ability, you will be heading to form the right bets.

Limited Number of Spectators

The Belmont Stakes this year started with no spectators on the field. The Kentucky Derby will come in two weeks, which will allow fewer numbers of fans. In the Preakness Stakes, the Stronach Group has agreed to allow a limited number of audiences at the Pimlico Park. In line with this, fans are required to follow strict health protocols to contain the Coronavirus.

The Preakness Stakes tickets are already up in their website and partner merchants. Make sure to reserve your tickets as early as now as it may run out soon. If you happen to watch the live show, you must fulfill the necessary tests before entering the field. The hospitality tickets are also offered but with many health restrictions.

No InfieldFest Happening

The InfieldFest is an annual gathering happening the night after the racing game. It highlights a loud music festival, where fans can dance to the beat of the music. Not only that, but some famous Hollywood performers also grace the party. They portray a concert-vibe InfieldFest where you can feel the culture of the Preakness Stakes.

However, this year, the festival won’t happen due to social distancing rules. The only thing that will take place is the formal racing and betting games. Although InfieldFest is not happening, you can still savor the fine dining offered at Pimlico Park. Besides that, the Black-Eyed Susans cocktail is still served, which is the official cocktail drink of the Preakness Stakes.

Barn Tour Will Still Take Place

The Barn tour is a significant event to take note of in the Preakness Stakes. It happens two days before the formal racing starts, where the horses, trainers, and jockeys are making their final preparation. The official fourteen Preakness Stakes participants will also have their workouts during the Barn Tour to check if they are ready for the competition.

If you are betting for the Preakness Stakes and still torn on which horse to wager, take time to participate in the Barn Tour. It is your best venue to observe and compare all the colts. It should be your basis which entry you’re finally cheering on.

Takeaway

With heavy anticipation and thrill, the Preakness Stakes this year will not surely disappoint you as it ends the Triple Crown in a new normal edition. It might bring tighter security inside the field to contain the virus from spreading. However, the one thing that’s never going to change is the betting games and the fun it brings.

Kentucky Derby 2020 – In the Time of Coronavirus

The Kentucky Derby, normally the first race of the Triple Crown, will be on September 5, 2020 instead of the instead of the traditional first Saturday in May. Attendance will be less than 14% of total capacity from event record, maximum of 40% of seated capacity. There will be no General Admission this year and the infield will be closed.

Guests are encouraged to wager online. The potential the Kentucky Derby 2020 contenders sorted by the number of points earned during the Road to Kentucky Derby prep races and help with understanding the Odds for the race can be found at Kentucky Derby odds.

Churchill Downs officials announced a 62-page operations plan that will limit attendance for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby to fewer than 23,000 guests. Upon entry to the Derby, guests must have his or her temperature checked, a medical screening, are required to physically distance, and face coverings are mandated.

To reduce crowding, select Kentucky Derby Week activities have been eliminated including autograph signings, concerts in the Plaza, fashion contests, Taste of Derby, the Survivors Parade, and the Red Carpet.

Dawn at the Downs, the annual event to dine while observing morning workouts, has been moved to Monday, Aug. 31, and will be limited to guests with reserved seats; there will be no free general admission.

Reserved seating will be limited to a maximum of 40% occupancy. Also, Standing Room Only or “Walk Around” tickets have been eliminated. All outdoor ticket holders will be reseated in a new comparable location either prior to or during the event to provide for maximum distancing.

Each guest will receive a courtesy “Healthy at the Track” bag, which will include a disposable mask, a pocket-sized hand sanitizer, and a personal stylus for non-contact self-service wagering.

This plan will allow Churchill Downs to safely and responsibly host Kentucky Derby Week (Tuesday, Sept. 1 through Saturday, Sept. 5) with a limited number of spectators. The protocols will be in effect for all five days of the Sept. 1-5 racing meet at Churchill Downs.

The overwhelming early Kentucky Derby favorite is Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law, who easily won the 2020 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Tiz the Law, trained by Barclay Tagg and ridden by Manny Franco, has won six of his seven career starts and $2,015,300. Other top Derby contenders include Blue Grass Stakes and Ellis Park Derby winner Art Collector, Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A. P., and Haskell Stakes winner Authentic.

NBC will televise coverage of the Kentucky Derby and undercard racing on Sept. 5 from 2:30-7:30 p.m. ET. The 146th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks, the Derby’s counterpart for 3-year-old fillies, will be televised Friday, Sept. 4 on NBCSN from 3-6 p.m. ET.

This will be one of the largest crowds for a sporting event in the United States since sports began shutting down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A crowd of 30,000 fans was allowed at a NASCAR race on July 15 in Bristol, Tennessee.

Per Churchill Downs: “Medical best practices and protocols — many of which we have applied in consultation with experts both inside and outside the sports industry — will be implemented, and we’ll make adjustments all the way up to Derby Day as we find ways to improve and continue to adhere to ever-evolving best practices.”

In 2020, you learn to expect the unexpected. So when the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve announced that it would run on Sept. 5 instead of the traditional first Saturday in May, the schedule of qualifying races included some new summer events that have never had Derby points attached to them before.

In 2013, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby began a system to qualify horses for the classic race by designating certain prep races with points: the higher the points value of a race, the tougher the competition. That’s because only 20 horses are able to run in the Kentucky Derby each year, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: only Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-old Thoroughbreds are eligible to run.

With more than a month left before the big race this year, it looks like the minimum qualifying points may be higher, since the horses lowest on the top 20 list already have at least 30 points to his or her credit.

The standings heading into August have Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law on top with a whopping 272 points.

  • Tiz the Law – Manny Franco 6-5. Last Race was Travers Stakes, Saratoga, 8/8, 1st by 5 1/2
  • Art Collector – Brian Hernandez, Jr. 5-1. Last Race was Ellis Park Derby, Ellis Park, 8/9, 1st by 3 1/4

With a little more than a month left until the run for the roses, there are still some prep races with qualifying points on the calendar.

Some of the jockeys have more than one ride. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this may cause some jockeys to give up some of his or her business/races due to Covid 14-day quarantine.

This unprecedented pandemic has caused tracks, most notably Del Mar and Saratoga, to institute policies whereby if a jockey leaves, he or she can’t come back before the meet ends. Both those meets end on Labor Day, two days after the Derby on Sept. 5, so riders from those locales who go to the Derby would miss out on at least the final three days of those lucrative meets.

Churchill Downs has yet to release its final protocols regarding jockeys who travel in for the Derby, the resolution of which could force riders to give up even more significant business at his or her home tracks.

An early working document from Churchill Downs regarding when jockeys needed to arrive required them to be in Kentucky by Aug. 24, which would force a rider to give up the final two weeks at Saratoga and Del Mar. That is expected to be tweaked. Still, for a jockey like Manny Franco, who rides Tiz the Law, or Mike Smith, who rides Honor A. P., it’s worth it, whatever the requirements. Perhaps not so much for others.

Activists are calling for cancellation of the 2020 Kentucky Derby, accusing the city of cracking down on demonstrations ahead of the event.  Protest groups working to find justice for Breonna Taylor want the Kentucky Derby cancelled this year. City leaders are accused of trying to make Louisville look good in front of a national audience, instead of addressing community issues like systemic racism.

Notice of Cancellation of Bluegrass Festival, KHJA, USEF Jr. Hunter Nat’l Championship – East Coast

Lexington, Ky. – August 4, 2020 – After weighing the impact of multiple positive COVID-19 cases following the Kentucky Summer Classic and the cancellation notice of USHJA’s upcoming championships, Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and US Equestrian have decided to cancel Bluegrass Festival (Aug. 11-16), KHJA (Aug. 19-23), and USEF Junior Hunter National Championship – East Coast (Aug. 23-24), scheduled to take place at the Kentucky Horse Park.

We have been notified that three additional individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the Kentucky Summer Classic for a total of seven reported cases. The majority of reported cases are associated with one barn and none of the individuals have returned to the facility.

This is a decision not taken lightly and we are mindful of the negative effect this will have on exhibitors’ plans and schedules, but feel this is the only way to ensure a safe outcome for all. No fees of any kind have been charged to anyone who has entered the shows. Exhibitors do not need to take any action with regard to the show office and all entries will be canceled. We hope that moving forward our exhibitors and members will place their safety and the safety of others above all else during these trying circumstances.

If you believe you have been exposed to the virus, please follow the ten recommendations from the CDC, found here.

Information about testing for COVID-19 can be found here.

Please be reminded that if you test positive for COVID-19 within fourteen (14) days following a competition you attended, you must notify the competition organizer and USEF.

For additional information, please contact Hugh Kincannon at hak@kentuckyhorseshows.com

For additional information on USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, please contact hunterdept@usef.org.

Nilforushan Equisport Events Donates to COVID-19 Relief and Helmet Safety

Photo: Captured Moment Photography.

Temecula, Calif. – Aug. 3, 2020 – The entire team at Nilforushan Equisport Events (NEE) is so appreciative of all of its exhibitors and hardworking staff that made the Temecula Valley National Summer Series, presented by Interactive Mortgage, a success from June 24-28 and June 30 – July 4. It is because of the dedication that everyone showed to following the appropriate COVID-19 protocol and the collective sacrifice of the group that NEE has been able to donate money to worthy causes such as the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund and the Helmet Safety Research Campaign, in partnership with US Equestrian and the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association. Without ribbons to hand out, plus the funds raised from raffle items, NEE was able to divide a total of $10,000 between the two organizations to help pay it forward in the equestrian community thanks to its supporters.

“We all know that times are different right now due to COVID-19, and to keep everyone safe and healthy we had to make a few changes to our show operations for the Temecula Valley National Summer Series. Although we were sad not to be able to hand out ribbons to our riders, especially the children, those sacrifices by our exhibitors allowed us to conserve funds that we are excited to put back into the equestrian community. We can’t thank everyone enough for their cooperation, and we hope that this money will help to do some good in the horse show world we all know and love. It is our hope that we can continue to do more good work like this going forward,” commented Ali Nilforushan, founder of Nilforushan Equisport Events.

Thanks, in part, to the money raised from three items donated by BioXcellerator and Casa del Mar Golf Resort & Spa that were raffled off during the final weekend of the show, NEE has pledged $5,000 to the California Professional Horsemen’s Association Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Fund is specifically aimed to help support horse show workers, such as grooms, braiders, show secretaries, ring crew, and many more, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the health of the equestrian community is of paramount importance right now, safety is a part of the sport that should always be improving. With that in mind, NEE is additionally donating $5,000 to the Helmet Safety Research Campaign, which supports the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab’s research to improve helmets used by equestrians. The research will study head impact and concussion risk in an equestrian environment via lab settings and field video data on a variety of equestrian events, with significant attention to jumping, where many injuries occur. The campaign is inching closer to its $450,000 goal, which recently took a huge leap forward thanks to the generous $100,000 donation by the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association.

NEE encourages anyone who has the means to do so to donate to the cause. To donate to the Helmet Safety Research campaign to help Virginia Tech reach the funding goal of $450,000, click here.

NEE is happy to be able to make some contributions to the equestrian community via these donations, as well as through the Trainer Incentive Program that took place during the Temecula Valley National Summer Series. During the show, two percent (2%) of sales from a trainer’s barn were returned to the trainers who participated. NEE hopes these funds will be helpful in allowing trainers to keep working with their clients and traveling the horse show circuit with a bit less stress.

Nilforushan Equisport Events is a horse-show management company owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Ali and Francie Nilforushan. Their mission is to produce world-class events that will make California a top show jumping destination, attract local residents to a number of entertainment experiences including world-class performances and film nights, as well as fine dining. Exhibitors can expect great sport, a first class VIP area and affordable showing options thanks to the inventive style of the Nilforushan management team.

For more information, please visit www.jump-nee.com.

Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and USEF Notice of Competition Cancellations

Lexington, Ky. – August 1, 2020 – We have been notified that two more individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, after attending the Kentucky Summer Classic, for a total of four reported cases. US Equestrian and Kentucky Horse Shows prioritize the safety of our members, participants, support teams, staff, and their families. To mitigate the risk of spread of the virus, USEF and the competition organizer together have made the decision to cancel the Kentucky Summer Classic and to cancel the USEF Pony Finals event scheduled to start Tuesday, August 4th. These cancellations will give the competition organizer time to sanitize the venue and determine whether competition can resume later this month.

With regard to the new reports, one individual worked in Barns 9 & 10 with one of the previously reported individuals. Both of these individuals have been off competition grounds since Friday, July 31. The other newly reported individual is a braider who worked in multiple barns and has been off the grounds since early August 1.

Per the requirements of the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan, we are notifying all individuals who were in attendance at the competition.  Although contact tracing is primarily the responsibility of public health agencies, in accordance with CDC guidelines we are asking these individuals for the names of others at the competition that they had close contact with starting from 48 hours before their symptoms appeared so that we can inform those persons directly that they may have been exposed to the virus.

If you believe you have been exposed to the virus, please follow the ten recommendations from the CDC, found here.

Information about testing for COVID-19 can be found here.

Please be reminded that if you test positive for COVID-19 within fourteen (14) days following a competition you attended, you must notify the competition organizer and USEF.

For additional information, please contact Hugh Kincannon at hak@kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Layover stabling will be available at the Kentucky Horse Park during the week of August 3-9 for those exhibitors whose plans have been disrupted by the cancellation of the final day of the Kentucky Summer Classic and the USEF Pony Finals. Contact Pat Duncan at 503-510-8797 for information.

Kentucky Horse Shows COVID-19 Protocols

Lexington, Ky. – July 8, 2020 – Kentucky Horse Shows LLC would like to make all exhibitors who will be participating in the Kentucky Summer Horse Show and the Kentucky Summer Classic, to be held July 22 – August 2, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park aware of the COVID 19 Protocols, which can be viewed here.

Competition is just two weeks away and all exhibitors must be familiar with the protocols mandated by USEF and The Commonwealth of Kentucky under which these events will be conducted.

The requirements and suggestions outlined are carefully considered to allow athletes to compete safely. The protocols will be enforced uniformly. Any questions regarding the protocols should be emailed to hak@kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Please remember that at the end of the day it will be your cooperation that dictates the success of our return to competition.

For the 2020 show season, all Kentucky Horse Shows prize lists will only be available in digital format. For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please refer to the prize list on www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.