Tag Archives: COVID-19

White House Releases Guidelines to Re-Open the U.S. Economy

On Thursday, April 16, the White House released “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again,” a 20-page document outlining a tiered and regionally-based roadmap to get back to business.  The guidelines are voluntary and authorize governors to implement either state-wide, or “county by county” timetables for easing restrictions on personal and commercial mobility.  Importantly, the guidelines establish so-called “gating criteria,” enumerating health-based benchmarks that serve as a prerequisite for different classes of business establishments to re-open.

Mass gatherings including racing events and horse shows would fall under “Phase 3,” which Administration officials are identifying as a state of relative control over risks associated with COVID-19 exposure.  Talks between various private sector stakeholder advisory committees are underway to discuss tactics to comply with the spirit of the guidelines while limiting potential tort liability arising from new risks.  These advisory committees include horse industry partners in the agriculture and sports communities.  American Horse Council will share details related to next steps as they unfold.  To view a copy of the guidelines, go to the following link:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf.

Paycheck Protection Well Runs Dry, for Now

Since enactment of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Thursday, April 16 depleted $350 billion of loan commitments under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), hitting the maximum amount authorized by the massive economic relief package.  Because Congress is officially out of session until Monday, May 4, lawmakers would have to pass legislation to authorize additional funds under rigid “pro forma” procedures prior to that date.  Last week, the Senate passed in pro forma session a narrow bill adding $250 billion to the PPP.  The House, however, rejected the proposal, and countered with a bill that would authorize $250 billion to fund municipal governments and hospital networks, in addition to Paycheck Protection aid.  The Senate subsequently rejected the House proposal, initiating behind-the-scenes talks to move past the stalemate.  With both chambers having reached an impasse on specific dollar amounts and the scope of additional economic aid, a near-term path forward remains uncertain.

Much of the confusion arising from Paycheck Protection stems from the two-tiered roll out for loan eligibility.  On April 3, the SBA began processing loans for small businesses and sole proprietors.  A week later, on April 10, the agency opened the program to independent contractors and the self-employed, thereby extending the program to large segments of the horse industry.  SBA had not previously operated large-scale loan programs for these two classes of borrowers, therefore creating an environment of uncertainty for borrowers and lenders.

Many members of the horse industry have reported long waiting times from their banks to learn details related to their applications.  To give perspective on the bottlenecks, the Administration reported earlier this week that it had processed approximately 1.4 million applications and disbursed slightly over $70 billion to banks. While policymakers intend the program to operate on a “first come, first served” basis, the depletion of funds should not necessarily dissuade potential borrowers from moving forward with an application.  Many banks, especially larger institutions including Wells Fargo, for example, have stated that they will continue to process Paycheck Protection loans, pending additional funds from Congress.   AHC will continue to keep members informed of guidance and developments related to small business loans and other economic relief measures.  For a detailed overview of Paycheck Protection, go to the following link:  https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20–%20Overview.pdf.

Details:  Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org

UHC has pushed up the release of its resource database questionnaire in the wake of COVID-19, in an effort to compile a listing of all known safety net programs available in the nation to help owners who are in need, as well as the rescues and sanctuaries that help them.  It is our hope that by having one centrally located area to access these resources, we will help owners keep their horses from becoming at-risk during these trying times.

The brief questionnaire can be completed here: https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/resource-database/.

American Horse Council
www.horsecouncil.org
info@horsecouncil.org

Equestrian Aid Foundation Processes COVID-19 Relief Grants for Industry Professionals in Crisis

Wellington, Florida — Apr. 16, 2020 — The Equestrian Aid Foundation is proud to announce the distribution of 160 relief checks to equestrians in financial crisis as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative to support equestrian professionals and industry service providers has been funded through EAF’s Disaster Relief Fund.

“The essential shutdown of our industry has really thrown the community into crisis,” said EAF board member Scot Evans. “Many of the people we work among week in and week out have been left with no means of financial security and no way forward. It’s been devastating.”

Applications for emergency grants have come from all corners of the equestrian community, from jump crew to stewards to instructors whose lesson income has all but disappeared. Thanks to community support, private donations, and the Great Charity Challenge, the Equestrian Aid Foundation has been able to fund emergency grant payments of $500 to assist qualified applicants with basic living expenses. The Foundation is also honored to have financial support from a growing number of businesses.

“When we conceptualized our Disaster Relief Fund several years ago, we never imagined we’d be helping our community through a pandemic,” said EAF board member Louise Riggio. “But this fund is designed to help people overcome the unimaginable. We’re making great strides to help alleviate the financial impact of COVID-19, and as long as we have community support, we’ll continue to face it head-on. We are horsemen helping horsemen.”

All donations to the Disaster Relief Fund will be directed toward assistance for equestrian professionals and service providers who are in financial crisis as a direct result of COVID-19.

For more information about Equestrian Aid Foundation, please visit EquestrianAidFoundation.org.

FEI.TV Available Free of Charge while Live Sport Is on Hold

Swedish Dressage athlete Patrik Kittel tries out the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ trophy for size, whilst compatriot, former European Champion Peder Fredricson, takes hold of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy. (FEI/Liz Gregg)

FEI.TV, the FEI’s online television platform, will be providing all its coverage of past events and special equestrian features free of charge to everyone while live sport is on hold until end of June.

Under normal circumstances, FEI.TV live-streams all major FEI Series and Championships, with an extensive range of replays, special features, and historic events coverage available on-demand combining to provide unparalleled coverage of equestrian sport year-round.

But with no live sport, access to FEI.TV will be free and existing subscribers will be compensated for the months of April, May, and June. They will get automatically refunded on their accounts. All content on the platform, including VOD, will be freely available to all users who will need to register, meaning that fans can re-live all the action from past events so there’s no need to miss out on your fix of equestrian sport.

“Premium content like this usually sits behind a paywall and is normally available only to subscribers, but while there is no ‘live’ sport, we want to give equestrian fans the chance to binge-watch for free during this terrible pandemic,” FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus says.

This week’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ and FEI Dressage World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas were one of the early high-profile victims of the Covid-19 outbreak when they were cancelled in mid-March. But Jumping and Dressage fans now have the opportunity to relive some of the very best moments of the FEI World Cup™ Finals from the past five years – 2015 to 2019 – live and free on FEI.TV, FEI Jumping and Dressage Facebook pages, and FEI YouTube channel daily. And if you can’t watch it live, catch it on replay on FEI.TV.

For fans of the other equestrian disciplines, FEI.TV has lots more unique content, ranging from FEI Vaulting and Driving World Cup™ highlights to wrap-ups of the FEI Eventing and Dressage Nations Cup™ series.

An additional broadcast offering has been made available by the FEI, equestrian sport’s global governing body, providing free access to video archive footage to TV broadcasters in EBU member territories across Europe through its partnership with EBU, and to key territories in the rest of the world via its partnership with IMG.

“Our broadcast partners are struggling to fill their air-time without live sport, so this initiative has been put in place to ensure that they have access to top equestrian footage and, together, we can keep our fans around the world happy with their daily dose of equestrian content,” Straus says.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Major Revision to Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2020 Rules

Photo: FEI/Lukasz Kowalski.

With the global sporting calendar decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has made drastic changes to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 rules in a bid to maintain the series Final at Barcelona in October this year.

Under changes proposed by the FEI Jumping Committee and approved by the FEI Board during its teleconference this week, a total of 22 nations will be invited to compete at the Longines Final, staged at the prestigious Barcelona Polo Club. The 22 teams would be 10 from Europe, three from North America, two from South America, two from the Middle East, two from Asia/Australasia, one apiece from Africa and Eurasia, plus the host nation Spain.

The event held in February this year in Wellington (USA) will no longer be considered as a qualifier, and while events in North America and Europe that are still scheduled to take place over the next few months can be hosted as a Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™, no qualifying points will be awarded for the Final.

The three teams from North America and the 10 teams from Europe Division 1 will qualify directly for the Final, while the UAE and Syria, who claimed the two top spots at the Middle East qualifier in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, will retain their places for the Final.

The qualification system for the other divisions will be based on the Longines Rankings, using the combined points of each National Federations’ four best Athletes on the Longines Ranking published one month prior to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final:

  • South America: 2 teams via Longines Ranking
  • Asia/Australasia: 2 teams via Longines Ranking
  • Africa: 1 team via Longines Ranking
  • Eurasia: 1 team via Longines Ranking

With Spain as the host nation of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final, this brings the maximum number of teams competing to 22.

As the EEF has announced the postponement of the Longines EEF Series launch until 2021, there will be no promotion and relegation this year, so Division 1 will start with the same 10 teams for the 2021 season.

“The global pandemic has meant that sadly we have had a number of cancellations in the series, and even though we still don’t know what events will take place later in the season, we needed to provide clarity to all our stakeholders as soon as possible, so out of respect to all our Organisers, to our National Federations and their athletes, and of course to our Top Partner Longines, making this decision now was the only way forward,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“There is no certainty that teams would be able to travel to any of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup events that are able to go ahead, and without a fair qualification system and the impossibility of being able to offer a level playing field where all teams have the same possibility to train and participate at events, this was a decision that had to be made.

“Of course all this is dependent on what happens with the pandemic, and we truly hope that there will soon be respite from all the terrible suffering around the globe, but we need to be optimistic and having the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona in October with up to 22 countries competing for our sport’s most prestigious team title is a goal we are hoping can be realised.”

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

Cancellation of Saumur Complet

Faced with the spread of the COVID-19 virus in France and abroad, the team of the Comité Equestre de Saumur worked for weeks in collaboration with the French Equestrian Federation (FFE), the FEI, and the competent health authorities to consider solutions to keep Saumur Complet from 21 to 24 May 2020.

However, the extension of the lockdown announced by the President of the French Republic in his speech of last April 13 makes it impossible to maintain «Saumur complet» on its initial date.

Very conscious of the sporting and economic consequences of the cancellation of such an important event, the Comité Equestre de Saumur’s actually studying the possibility of organizing the event during the second semester of 2020 following the calendar of international competitions.

Furthermore, in view of the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games, we are already working with the FFE and the FEI to organize the schedule for 2021 in order to support the athletes and allow them to have the required qualifications to participate in the next Olympic Games in 2021.

The Comité Équestre de Saumur would like to thank very sincerely in advance the many people involved in this event for their understanding, and is convinced in advance of everyone’s good will to create a beautiful sports and cultural event next autumn.

Marie-Claude Varin-Missire
President of the Comité Équestre de Saumur

Press Contact – Blizko Communication
Juliette Feytout – E-mail: juliette@blizko-communication.com

Brooke USA Launches Fundraising Effort to Fight Coronavirus Pandemic

Lexington, KY (April 10, 2020) – Brooke USA has launched a crisis fundraising campaign for friends and supporters to provide humanitarian aid during the growing global fight against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

The Board of Directors of Broke USA will manage the COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund which is designed to address the need for humanitarian aid across the globe. In response to the spread of the coronavirus, Brooke USA is committed to meeting the needs of equine-dependent communities impacted by the pandemic both in the United States and in the developing world.

Countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and the Caribbean are going to need increased assistance. Brooke USA recognizes that in the developing world there is a lack of health care facilities, medical supplies are not readily available, and living in highly crowded communal situations exacerbates the risk of spread. Moreover, the international community which normally offers aid is hard pressed to help because every nation is dealing with their own problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Response & Recovery Fund positions Brooke USA to immediately help where the need is greatest. The current crisis has also impacted the US, leaving horses, donkeys, and mules abandoned and local equine organizations in desperate need of financial support.

Brooke USA Chairman of Board of Directors John Nicholson announced that “the organization has established a $125,000 goal with the understanding that this may change as communities are further impacted and the crisis continues.” He added that Brooke USA anticipates a surge in funding requests from its sister organization Brooke, the leading international charity focused on alleviating the suffering of working equines and the people they serve in the developing world, as well as from other organizations with similar missions. He noted that “we simply want to be ready to help immediately when asked or when we see the need.”

“We hope that equine-friendly businesses, individuals, and philanthropists will join us in this fight against this virus which certainly is global in scale,” said Emily Dulin, Executive Director of Brooke USA.

The funds raised will be used to support response and recovery efforts which will vary from nation to nation and community to community. Brooke USA understands that needs in each area will be individual. In some communities, this may mean providing care for working animals whose owners have been impacted by the pandemic. In others, it may involve helping get food to a family who can no longer work due to illness or economic distress.

To donate to Brooke USA’s COVID-19 Crisis Response & Recovery Fund, visit www.BrookeUSA.org/COVID-19Fund, or contact Emily Dulin at Emily.Dulin@BrookeUSA.org, or send a check or money order to Brooke USA, 2333 Alexandria Drive, Lexington, KY 40504.

Learn more about our response to COVID-19.

FEI Board Approves Jumping Calendar Task Force Resolutions

The FEI Board has approved a number of resolutions proposed by the Jumping Calendar Task Force aimed at minimising the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the FEI Calendar and the equestrian community.

In a specially expedited approvals process, the FEI Board agreed the resolutions in an extraordinary FEI Board teleconference convened specifically for the purpose. These new provisions will remain in place for the rest of 2020, with the possibility of being revisited for next year if required.

The FEI Board confirmed the following existing Rules for CSI 5*, CSI 4*, and CSIOs, and temporary amendments to the Rules for CSI 3*, CSIP, and CSI 2*:

CSI 5*/CSI 4*/CSIO – the current Rules apply, applications for date changes must reach the FEI 12 weeks prior to the Event, invitation rules remain in place, etc.

CSI 3* – exempted from the Date Clash Rules, and date applications or modifications will only be considered by the FEI if provided to the FEI by National Federations at least eight (8) weeks prior to the Event (instead of 12 weeks). All other Rules, including the CSI Invitation Rules, remain in place.

CSIP – exempted from the Date Clash Rules, and date applications or modifications will only be considered by the FEI if provided to the FEI by National Federations at least four (4) weeks prior to the Event (instead of 12 weeks). Invitation Rules are not applicable. All other Rules remain in place.

For CSI 2*, the CSI Invitation Rules are temporarily suspended. All other Rules remain in place.

The Board also agreed to a number of other resolutions that will now require further discussion by the Jumping Calendar Task Force.

CSIOs – the Board agreed to prioritise all CSIOs when date clashes are being considered, regardless of whether they are standalone Events or part of a Series, to allow for team preparation in the build-up to the Olympic Games next year. The Board has asked the Jumping Calendar Task Force to review date clashes on a case-by-case basis once applications and/or modifications are received from National Federations.

Switching dates from one Event to another by the same Organiser – as this has been allowed previously, the Board has asked the Jumping Calendar Task Force to review and allow, on a case-by-case basis, for a change of venues by the same Organiser.

The Board has also tasked the Jumping Calendar Task Force to look into the impact of the requested date changes on the existing Events in the Calendar and to provide proposed solutions to the FEI Secretary General and the Board.

In addition to the above, the Board discussed FEI Championships in 2020 and 2021, potential initiatives to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Event Organisers, and FEI Series, notably the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2020 and Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2021. These points will be further discussed by the Jumping Committee during its teleconference this week and the Committee will then make its recommendations to the FEI Board.

The FEI Board additionally requested that the Executive Board looks into the financial consequences of Covid-19 and the economic impact of potentially granting some waivers on fees for Event Organisers.

The key principles approved by the FEI Board will now be shared with the other seven Task Forces put in place to evaluate the impact of the virus on the FEI Calendar for Dressage, Para Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, and Reining. Each of these Task Forces, whose meetings will be scheduled in the coming days, consists of the core group plus the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the Athletes, and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline.

The FEI President is to be kept fully updated on the work of each of the Task Forces and, where required, will assist in finalising proposals for solutions to be put forward to the FEI Board for approval.

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

Emergency Giving Guide to Highlight Non-Profits on the Frontlines of COVID-19

Wellington, FL – April 6, 2020 – To join the fight against Coronavirus, COVID-19, and support the local community, the Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), a Wellington-based show jumping competition that blends equestrian sports and philanthropy, has created a Palm Beach County Emergency Giving Guide featuring 83 local organizations that are currently assisting the most vulnerable populations.

The evolution of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, globally, nationally, and locally has affected each of us in ways we couldn’t have previously imagined.

As mentioned by West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James: “The economic effects of COVID-19 are catastrophic. Therefore, we must do what we can to support our citizens, including our most vulnerable.”

Recognizing that these unprecedented times call for an unprecedented approach to community support, the GCC realized it is crucial to connect donors and supporters with non-profit organizations who are providing critical support during the COVID-19 epidemic.

From child welfare, emergency educational support, homelessness support, medical support and more, donors and supporters can easily view what organizations are doing, the challenges they are facing and see what their immediate needs are.

“Our hope is for individuals to utilize this tool to better understand emerging need and see how they can create the biggest impact in their communities,” commented event Co-founder Paige Bellissimo. “Many of us want to help and are overwhelmed as to where to start; this guide is a local roadmap.”

Having worked with over 255 Palm Beach County non-profit organizations, distributing $14.8 million locally over the last 11 years, the GCC has seen how charities create lasting change and impact.

“We were in a unique position,” adds Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin. “In partnership with Bank of America, we perform rigorous due diligence on organizations that apply to participate in our annual event. Through this process, we strive to identify organizations that will create the most influential impact locally.”

In order to get this Emergency Giving Guide out in a timely fashion, all but a few entries who are marked with an asterisk as well as an accompanying note have been reviewed through the GCC’s earlier efforts, in association with the event’s 2020 edition, held on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. This is done to promote transparency, but in no way should it be a seen as a red flag; due diligence is encouraged on behalf of potential donors.

In an effort to make this Emergency Giving Guide as user friendly and functional as possible, donors and supporters have two distinct ways to search for non-profits organizations:

Option 1: The Alphabetical Index by Organizations. If you are looking for a particular organization, this is a great avenue to quickly locate them in this Guide.

Option 2: The Alphabetical Index by Categories. Non-profits are proving to be nimble and are quickly reacting to the needs they are seeing in our community.

These categories therefore directly reflect the work that they are currently doing (rather than what they were doing up until the COVID-19 crisis).

We felt it was important to reflect their current efforts as they are “boots on the ground,” faced with the most pressing needs and have a greater understanding of the vulnerabilities of the people they serve.

You are invited to access the report by clicking here.

For additional information about the GCC, please visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com.

FEI Sports Forum Online Session Content to Be Published by Mid/Late April

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the FEI has completely stripped back the FEI Sports Forum 2020 in order to address the time sensitive topics and delay the themes which can and should be discussed at a later stage.

The two sessions concerning FEI Anti-Doping Rules for human athletes and equine athletes will therefore be the only sessions to be covered (not as webinars) as part of the FEI Sports Forum 2020. The FEI will be publishing all the supporting documents and relevant deadlines for feedback by the mid/late April. Note that we have had to reconsider timelines for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions in view of the cancelled WADA symposium which should have taken place mid-March and the subsequent delivery of WADA support materials and implementation tools. Nonetheless, all the relevant materials for the FEI Anti-Doping Rules sessions will be published here, and the community’s feedback alongside the full consultation process will be maintained.

Among the sessions on hold, Tokyo 2020 was a key theme covering practical and informative topics such as transportation, logistics, climate mitigation, and administrative matters. However, given the full 12-month delay of the Games, the FEI will be holding this session at the Sports Forum 2021 in order to ensure the timely delivery of the relevant and most up to date information around the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo (JPN). In the meantime, for all information relating to Tokyo 2020 logistics and planning, please don’t hesitate to visit our dedicated hub for all news and FAQs around the Covid-19 pandemic.

FEI media contact:

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

FEI Jumping Calendar Task Force Agrees on Resolutions at First Virtual Meeting

The Jumping Calendar Task Force, one of eight discipline-specific task forces created by the FEI to evaluate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the FEI Calendar and propose ways of mitigating its effects, held its first meeting via teleconference on 2 April 2020.

The meeting was chaired by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, who has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar and who will chair each of the discipline Task Forces.

The members who joined the teleconference call were the FEI Vice Presidents Mark Samuel (CAN) and Jack Huang (TPE), Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee Stephan Ellenbruch (GER), European Equestrian Federation President Theo Ploegmakers (NED), Jumping Athletes’ Representative Pedro Veniss (BRA), and President of the International Equestrian Organisers Association Peter Bollen (BEL). The FEI Deputy Jumping Director, FEI Calendar Administrator, and the Directors of the FEI IT, Legal, and Governance departments were also on the call.

Key topics discussed by the group during the almost three-hour meeting:

  • The deadline for National Federations to come back to the FEI with proposed alternative dates for Events looking to reschedule in 2020
  • The rules relating to date clashes and late-date/date change applications
  • Possible initiatives to help Organisers
  • The impact of the new Olympic Games dates on the FEI Calendar 2021

The conclusions and resolutions from the Jumping Calendar Task Force will now go to the FEI Board for consideration at a specially convened Board teleconference next week.

Following this, the principles agreed by the Board will be shared with the other seven Task Forces that will evaluate the impact of the virus on the FEI Calendar for Dressage, Para Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, and Reining. Each of these Task Forces, which will hold their meetings in the coming days, consists of the core group plus the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the Athletes, and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline.

The FEI President is to be kept fully updated on the work of each of the Task Forces and, where required, will assist in finalising proposals for solutions to be put forward to the FEI Board for approval.

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