An Open Letter During COVID-19: We Will Overcome

Amy Nelson & Hummingbird’s Mendacium. Photo courtesy of Amy Nelson.

In recent weeks we have become intimately familiar with terms like “social distancing” and “quarantine.” Gatherings have been banned, businesses forced closed and some of the biggest events in the sport have been canceled worldwide. Even the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event announced its first ever cancellation in 42 years.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. Things are changing by the hour, with new information and rules to follow. But one thing is constant: As equestrians we have always been a resilient group of people. On a daily basis we face adversity, like injuries, or falls, or inclement weather, and somehow we rise above it all to push forward in a sport that we love.

These are uncertain times. I am not aiming to be a doomsdayer, but to be honest, none of us knows the true scope of what is about to happen. In the world, but also in the sport we love. But count on this — we will continue to love our sport, and ride our ponies, and connect (virtually) with others who are the same. It is vital in today’s world that we ENJOY THE JOURNEY.

Amanda Kothe & Valentino’s Day. Photo by Becca Greene.

Many of us thrive on competition. We love the thrill of cross country, the comradery of the sport, and the time spent with our horses with the wind in our ears as a crowd (or our small group of family and friends) cheers us on. I do not know when these will happen again. I am hopeful we will be back to showing in no time, but as in the sport eventing itself, there are no guarantees. What I do know is every time you put a foot in the iron and swing your leg over, you should smile.

We are the lucky ones. We can still ride. Our passion cannot be quarantined. Our love for horses cannot be canceled. Many sports are not so lucky — weightlifters are forced to stay away from the gym. Swimming pools are on lockdown. Gymnasts are sent home. But riding will continue. Gridwork will happen. Jump schools and dressage practice and long hacks in the field will go on. At the very minimum, our beloved horses will still be cared for and nurtured (and we can sneak soft nose kisses and comforting neck hugs). Do not forget why you got into the sport in the first place. Stay connected with your riding friends remotely.  This is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of our sport. It is a temporary change.  But we will keep going. Because we are equestrians.

3 … 2 … 1 … Enjoy the ride.

Amy Nelson & Hummingbird’s Mendacium. Photo by Darryl Dragoo.