It’s clear that everyone is dying to get out there and start their competition season. For some of you it is your livelihood and for others it is a recreation.

There is a lot of frustration being expressed in social media discussions. Please be reassured we are advocating on behalf of the sport. The goalposts move every day and this constant state of change is unsettling and exhausting for those trying to plan events in the covid-19 environment. None of us are experts in pandemic behaviours but we all have the same common goal, we want you to be riding your horses and stay safe

We, at ESNZ, are working on your behalf with organising committees, members and Sport NZ to clarify guidelines and to lobby for sensible treatment of sports like ours in these times.  Please understand that as a national body we have to comply with the guidelines but we can find ways to work within them so we all get a little bit of what we want.

We do need to consider a couple of issues:

  • A lot of people are really suffering as a result of this pandemic and we need to be aware that outside of the equestrian world there are really tough challenges for lots of sectors, families and businesspeople.
  • If shows are able to be held, we all have to play our part in acting responsibly and respecting the rules in place. Some things at a show might just take longer as we work within the guidelines, let’s be supportive about that.
  • No organising committee wants to be the one on the news day after day as the next cluster! We need to respect OCs decisions and planning and make sure we meet our obligations under the guidelines.
  • We need to remember that for some OCs – reducing the number of entries for their event has a large impact on the financial viability of their show – this has to be considered.
  • The sport cannot run without volunteers and officials but many of the people who fulfil these roles are not comfortable being out and about if it puts them at risk. We need to respect this.
  • Some events are planning to go ahead in Level 2 and have spent a lot of time working on their plans. If any OC needs help please get in touch with the sport manager for their discipline and they will happily point you in the right direction. Call the office for contact details 04 499 8994.

The season would normally be about to get into full swing. But given the circumstances we find ourselves in, the restrictions and level changes could ebb and flow for a long period of time. This is out of our control, but we learn a bit more each time and, like we said, we all want the same result – to be riding, competing and attending great events.

We look forward to working with you all and getting back to whatever the new normal will be.  Have an awesome weekend, be great people and make sure your unicorns are happy.

Dana Kirkpatrick