The Event Cancellation Triad: Two Helpful Explanations

Over the past few days we’ve all been doing the mental math on how a triad of COVID-19 announcements issued by FEI, USEF and USEA will impact various events. With the three organizations’ responses differing, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to share a refresher on what each organization does/is responsible for. USEA Area II chair Melissa Stubenberg beat us to the punch, issuing this email to Area II eventers on Saturday. We couldn’t have explained it better ourselves — see below. 

The latest episode of Eventing Podcast offers a great breakdown as well. Nicole speaks with USEA CEO Rob Burk and USEF Managing Director of Eventing Jenni Autry to clarify the current position on eventing throughout the U.S. — you can listen in here

Hi Everyone,

I’m sure by now you all have seen the multiple emails about COVID-19 precautions (so I will not repeat them all). We have also had several recent decisions by the USEA, USEF and FEI. I will try and break it down and simplify it—so please note this is a simplification. Our sport has several governing bodies. Each horse trial is also a private business that has licenses from the various governing bodies to host events. Therefore, whether an event runs or not is ultimately the decision of each organizer.

As of today, the USEF (which licenses govern Modified through Advanced levels) has basically suspended events for 30 days starting March 16. If an event chooses to run, the results will not count for year end awards or national qualifications—-so it would be as if you were running those national levels at an unrecognized schooling show.

As of today, the USEA (which licenses govern BN through Training) has suspended events for two weeks starting March 16. As above, if an event chooses to run, it would be as if you were attending a schooling show. Area II will follow the USEA with respect to our year end awards, so any results will not count during the USEA suspension period.

As of today, the FEI (which licenses govern the FEI divisions) has strongly encouraged cancellation of events for 30 days but has not taking any other action. If an event chooses to run FEI levels, those will count for FEI purposes only at this time. There is some confusion for the impact for NAYC and Chris Donovan will be working on that clarification for impact for NAYC so those involved in that program will be hearing from her.

All events are also subject to any state or local restrictions on large gatherings. So each organizer will also have to comply with those restrictions.

Refund policies for each event depend on the events. I know this is an important topic for competitors but it really does depend on the individual events and what they are able to refund (beyond the nominal drug and USEF/USEA fees). I have also been in discussions with the Area II organizers and we have discussed more specific effects of the various suspensions with them, such as insurance coverage.

All these restrictions are fluid and very subject to change. I will try and keep the post on the Area II Facebook Page updated as well as a post on to the Area II website.

We all must also make decisions based on our individual risks. These are challenging times. I can say that that all the Area II organizers are working hard to do what is best for both the community and the sport.

Horses still need to be cared for everyday, so please consider those who care for your horse (if it is not yourself). We are lucky in a sense that we all should already be accustomed to taking precautions with our horses with respect to contagious diseases … and now need to make sure we are taking similar precautions with ourselves. Some in the area make their living with horses, I personally will still be taking lessons and training (unless I’m sick) but we each must make our own decisions.

As of the time of this email, the following Area II spring events have cancelled: Carolina International, The Fork at TIEC, Morven Park and CDCTA. Fair Hill has cancelled all its National levels but is still considering whether it can hold the CCIS4* (or other FEI levels). If Maryland closes all state parks, Fair Hill will be fully cancelled. (Editor’s note: You can view a complete list of USEA recognized events that have been canceled, postponed or modified as of this morning here.)

Please be safe everyone!

Melissa Stubenberg
Area II Chair

Resources: USEF: Corona Disease ResourcesUSEA: Event Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)