Together with fellow EHOA Board members, I am writing to wish you a very enjoyable festive season and to take the opportunity to thank you all for being such stalwarts in supporting the organisation during this unenviable year. With the evenings closed in, temperatures in single digits and restrictions on competition and travel in place, this really feels like the end of a very unique eventing year and an appropriate time to reflect on the challenges 2020 presented.
It was remarkable that so much sport was salvaged after such very difficult circumstance prevailed in the spring and early summer. The coordination of all the groups necessary to provide the necessary protocols and to assemble a fixture list for the second half of the season, including British Eventing, organisers and their teams, volunteers, sponsors, riders, stable staff and contractors was highly impressive. Whilst doubly hard efforts were called for when so many planned events had later to be cancelled or rescheduled, everyone’s combined efforts led to a substantial number of days of eventing coming to fruition. We speak for all owners in saying we are most grateful for the fact that all was not lost.
Behind the scenes, the IT project continued to provide challenges and our sincere thanks goes to Miranda Collet, Di Brunsden and Terry Miller for their work alongside the BE team and event organisers to ensure the system continues to develop into an effective management tool for the sport. Eventing Scores and the provision of live streaming from an increasing number of events were much appreciated by those of us unable to attend. These services have really kept owners and riders in the loop of the action this year and indeed are increasingly essential components of the enjoyment the owning of an event horse.
So many equestrian events were lost but for the eventing community the season’s sporting highlights included Cornbury’s return to the calendar in this the most difficult of years. Then Thoresby appeared on the fixture list but later disappeared in the Covid mire, before metamorphosing into Thoresberton to host the highly entertaining young horse championships. Late in the calendar, Burnham Market in October provided an invaluable opportunity to get elite horses out later in the season.
It may be the end of 2020, however, the rescheduling of BE’s winter and arena eventing series to January and February and the early season events scheduled for March gives us the cheerful prospect of sport next month and throughout the entirety of 2021. What a pleasant future these activities offer, and if the pandemic is brought under some semblance of control by a vaccine and we can gather with family and friends again, then 2021 will indeed start to deliver on its promises. Think of Badminton’s return, the Olympics with the excitement of squad training and selection preceding it, the hope of the reinstatement of a European Championship to follow Burghley, and the almost 200 other events throughout the levels that we hope to enjoy next year. These thoughts will no doubt put you in the festive mood.
Wishing you a very enjoyable holiday season with your family and friends.
The EHOA Board