Over the past month we’ve been planning and researching and communicating with many of our fellow organisers, contractors, suppliers, volunteers and supporters, and of course the governing body. This is proving to be a giant crystal ball gazing exercise not least because we have so little to go on and a very diminished BE HQ.
Nevertheless, the key considerations are disconcerting to us all. And there are many considerations. When the Government issued its guidance on 1st June covering Stage Three of the proposed five stage framework for returning to full unrestricted elite sporting competition this was a framework to progress from Stage Two, to the Return to Domestic Competition – No Spectators (RTDC) for elite teams/athletes. The purpose of this Stage Three guidance is to define a set of minimum standards for RTDC for all parties. It is expected therefore that the guidelines are considered by the Competition Delivery Partners and Elite Sport Organisation(s) and applied to their individual Competitions. What this essentially means for horse trials organisers is we’ll be under strict guidelines even when we move to Amateur sport restrictions at Stage 4 so as to comply with much more than our normal workload and responsibilities.
The challenge becomes SO MUCH MORE than medical protocols and PPE considerations and expense. The reality for us is the desire and necessity to provide the sport without compromising individual safety and risk. Therein lies the elephant in the room – what risk actuall is there and to whom. If we are to check and check again all those entering the competition venue area, then what exactly is the risk when social distancing is advised, enforced and expected? The crunch point appears to be when a casualty requires very close medical attention by the professionals. With the correct equipment we believe these situations can be well managed even though the expectation is neither the casualty or the medical team are Covid19 carriers.
The governning body however wishes to impose restrictions on the numbers attending, the adherence to numbers in collecting rings and of course the mixing of non family members judging and writing for the dressage phase. Non of this is overly controversial as we find our feet with the ‘social distancing’ model, but it sure has an effect on timetabling and the number of class changes in a day.
We will keep you posted as plans continue to develop.