Eventing in Scotland
It was with dismay we received the news from the Scottish Government that there would be no easing of restrictions which would enable equestrian sport – including eventing – to recommence in Scotland.
Racing and elite performance sport, including football and rugby have been able to recommence, behind closed doors and with strict protocols and regular COVID testing requirements. However, other sports – including equestrianism – are currently deemed recreational activity and have yet to be allowed to restart.
Proposals have been presented, via horsescotland, to sportscotland from BE, BD and BS. As yet no significant progress has been made.
There are indications that local or normal venue competition may be released first, which may allow us the route to recommence eventing in Scotland. However, the exact provisions of this will be key to whether it will be viable for an event organiser to run. For example, proposals for travel of no more than 25 miles to a competition venue would make it extremely difficult for a BE event to be viable.
We continue to work with horsescotland to promote all disciplines recommencing, and we acknowledge the frustrations that the difference in the ability to compete between the devolved nations causes for those north of the border. Sport, however, is a devolved matter within the Scottish administration.
It is clear from the relaxation in the rules in relation to sport coaching that the lobbying by constituents via their local MSPs to the Minister for Sport has been very effective, and we ask that members consider writing to their MSP, explaining the economic impact of the delay and the effect it has on individual circumstances.
horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull, commented “this is a hugely frustrating time for competitors and equestrian businesses in Scotland. We are seeing many competitors, across all disciplines, quite legitimately travelling south, meaning that our own venues, facility providers and centres are losing out on much needed revenue to help sustain their future. We are however not alone in this situation and we continue to lobby hard through our channels - alongside golf, motorsport, athletics, shooting, triathlon and cycling for the early resumption of competition. Scottish Government is only now beginning to recognise the economic importance of our communities and we are hopeful that local competition will be allowed to resume in the near future.”
We will continue to try and provide the best opportunities we can to our Scottish members, including the addition of Warwick Hall to the fixtures calendar to replace the Forgandenny (2) event, and we will work with BE Scotland to consider alternative formats of competition which may be permitted under phased return to normal sporting activity.