We were informed there was a unanimous vote from both the Pony Committee and the USHJA against holding this year's Pony Finals in KY.
Considering all states (especially FL and with the exception of CT and RI) are reporting rapidly rising COVID cases, we are concerned that running the event is neither safe nor responsible.
Unfortunately, as professionals who have pony division clients, if the event does go forward, it is impossible to explain not going to compete. We feel that the USEF is putting all of the trainers and families involved in an unavoidably precarious position.
While policing social distancing at the competition directly seems plausible, there is simply no fail safe measure to prevent socializing and therefore the spread of infection after the trainers and families leave the show grounds. Not only will everyone be staying in the same few hotels, but also we are dealing with children who cannot fully grasp the scope of COVID-19 repercussions. The CDC is now saying that it takes at least 4 days for symptoms to surface (if they do at all) so people will not know if they have been exposed until it is too late.
After putting a lot of thought into potential other solutions we have come up with the following proposed solution:
a. Split the pony finals into 3-4 regional competitions and run them separately (KY (Lexington), CA (tbd location), and NY (Old Salem or The Ridge)). Qualified members choose one of the regional events to attend and can only compete in one location.
We by no means seek to be antagonistic and understand the difficult position the USEF is in and the many reasons it is important to try to go ahead with the event however, we felt the need to raise awareness to our discomfort and concern for our safety and the safety of our respective employees and clients.
We hope you will take the time to hear our concerns and we look forward to your response.
Brianne Goutal-Marteau Maria Takacs Joe Currais
Olivia Golden Erin Stewart Katie Petronelli
Amanda Lyerly Heather Acker Jill Shulman
Chance Arakelian Patricia Griffith Lisa Esposito
Cathy Geitner Robin Greenwood Ashley Morrison
Sue Ashe Tom Wright