Jump to March 30 Update - Suspension Extended for Equestrian Canada Sanctioned Competition
Jump to March 20 Updates - Additional Guidelines for Equestrian Facility Operations
March 17, 2020 - Equestrian Canada (EC) is closely monitoring news from the World Health Organization, Canadian sport system partners, national and local authorities to help minimize the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19). Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we endeavour to provide the best possible level of service while simultaneously protecting the health and wellbeing of our community and employees.
Effective March 16, 2020, the Equestrian Canada (EC) office will be temporarily closed and staff will be working remotely. The return to office date is set for April 6, 2020; however, given daily changes to the status of the COVID-19 outbreak, there may be adjustments to this schedule.
During this time, day-to-day business operations will continue as normal, except for those requiring in-office activities, in-person meetings or travel. Please expect delayed processing times for items sent via mail or courier, including FEI Passports. There will be no coverage of competitions during this time, whether via press release or social media.
EC staff will remain accessible via phone and email during office hours. A full listing of EC staff and contact information can be found on our website at www.equestrian.ca/about/contact.
EC Events, Sanctioned Competitions & Team Selection
For the current list of cancelled/postponed EC clinics and sanctioned competitions, click here.
Effective March 14, 2020, All EC run in-person events, clinics and activities will be suspended for four weeks (until April 12, 2020). After two weeks, a review will take place to assess whether the suspension will be extended or if activities may resume.
We are counting on each and every member of the Canadian equestrian community to make responsible decisions based on the information available, the conditions in your geographic area and the recommendations from your local public health authorities.
EC Sanctioned Competitions - this section updated on March 30, 2020
The suspension of Equestrian Canada (EC) sanctioned competition has been extended to June 1, 2020, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The initial return to competition was set for April 12, 2020, but has been extended due to federal government and public health authority directives to limit COVID-19 transmission. 84 EC sanctioned competitions were scheduled during the timeline of March 16 to June 1, 2020.
No competitions will be sanctioned by either EC or the Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations (PTSOs) for the period of suspension. All matters pertaining to the accumulation of points, scores, qualification or rankings towards any EC awards program or team selection will be addressed once a return to competition framework has been developed. Competition hosts will be able to receive a full refund of their sanctioning fees or have the funds held as a credit for future competitions.
All in-person meetings, clinics, events, Rookie Rider and Learn to Ride/Drive activities will continue to be suspended until further notice. Virtual participation in these programs and events is encouraged where available; options are being explored for programs that do not have virtual options at this time.
EC will continue to monitor the state of the pandemic and asses the need for further extensions to the suspension timeline. A working group of EC staff and veterinarians has been established to develop a graduated framework that will protect the health and welfare of horses upon competition reinstatement. The recommendations of this working group will be part of joint initiatives with the PTSOs, select competition organizers and coaches/technical advisors.
The working group is comprised of:
- James Hood – EC High Performance Director
- Kristy House – EC Manager, Welfare and Identification & Coordinator, Industry and Equine Development
- Rachel Huebert – EC Manager, Technical Development
- Dr. Alan Manning MSc, DVM – FEI Official Veterinarian for Dressage, Eventing and Jumping; Canadian Dressage Team Veterinarian for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games; Canadian Para-Dressage Team Veterinarian for the Tryon 2018 World Equestrian Games; private practice veterinarian
- Dr. Hilary Clayton BVMS, PhD, DACVSMR, MRCVS – FEI Permitted Treating & Testing Veterinarian; author; researcher and clinician, Michigan State University
- Dr. Jan Henriksen DVM – FEI Permitted Treating Veterinarian; Canadian Eventing Team Veterinarian for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games; private practice veterinarian
- Dr. Yves Rossier DVM, IPSAV, Dipl. ACVIM – FEI Official Veterinarian for Dressage, Driving, Eventing, Jumping and Reining; National Head FEI Veterinarian for Canada; Member of the FEI Veterinary Committee; EC Equine Medication Control Committee Chair; Professor, Université de Montréal
- Dayton Gorsline – EC Jumping Youth Development Program Advisor, former member of the Canadian Equestrian Team
EC is making every effort to ensure continuous, thorough and up-to-date communication concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. EC’s complete statement on COVID-19, including regular updates, can be found on our website here. For the running list of cancelled/postponed clinics and events, click here.
Thank you for your cooperation and engagement as we work diligently to keep our community safe and informed. We are counting on each and every member of the Canadian equestrian community to make responsible decisions based on the information available, the conditions in your geographic area and directives from your local government and public health authorities.
EC high performance and discipline staff will continue to meet regularly and explore any necessary potential adjustments for team selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic/Paralymic Games and the North American Youth Championships. EC will review all current nomination/selection criteria, implement alternate qualification pathways should they be required and communicate changes to criteria or documents once they become available.
EC strongly urges our Sport Licence Holders, representatives and affiliates who are currently outside of Canada to follow the guidelines and recommendations indicated by local healthcare authorities, as well as those established by the Government of Canada. Additionally, all individuals are encouraged to return to their home location.
If you have not already done so, EC recommends that all Canadians abroad register with the Government of Canada here.
Return from the United States
If you are currently in the process of transporting your horses from the United States to Canada, please fill out the form at this link, to help EC track its out-of-country individuals and to subscribe to e-mail updates concerning the return transportation of horses.
In terms of international competition, we strongly recommend refraining from international travel to countries that have been identified as having high outbreaks of the coronavirus for the foreseeable future.
EC is communicating closely with the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) to monitor competition status around the world. The FEI strongly recommends that organizers should cancel all events for the next four weeks until a reassessment of the situation can be made. For the status of FEI events, please check their online database and read the statement below.
The FEI is following the matter closely and is in regular contact with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The IOC is collaborating directly with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and IOC Medical and Scientific Commission Games Group public health experts, as well as the relevant sport and government authorities. In addition, the FEI has issued the following advisory regarding the Coronavirus which can be found here.
In addition, the IOC has advised us that countermeasures against infectious diseases constitute an important part of Tokyo 2020’s plans to host a safe and secure Games. Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organisations which carefully monitor any incidence of infectious diseases and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary with all relevant organisations. In addition, the IOC is in contact with the World Health Organisation, as well as its own medical experts.
Please visit the following webpages for more information from the FEI:
Recommendations for Equestrian Facility Operations
Due to federal, provincial/territorial and local government recommendations on the movement of individuals, as well as the current states of emergency declared by provinces/territories, EC and the PTSOs recommend that all facilities that host equestrian-related activities, including but not limited to boarding stables and lesson barns, cease public-facing and non-essential activities until greenlit by the aforementioned government authorities.
All levels of government in Canada have publicly and repeatedly communicated that everyone in the country should be practicing social distancing to reduce their exposure to other people and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that “all Canadians should stay home.” Therefore, EC and the PTSOs recommend that facilities that host equestrian-related activities only allow personnel needed to take care of the facilities and our equine partners on their premises. This includes facility owners, facility managers, equine caretakers, providers of equine-related essential services (e.g. veterinarians, farriers), and boarders or owners providing equine-related minimum standards of care*. Non-essential personnel, including students, friends, family, the public, and boarders or owners who are not providing equine-related minimum standards of care*, are encouraged to remain off the premises.
*Individuals are to continue operating under the minimum standards of care outlined in the National Farm Animal Care Council Code of Practice to ensure the feeding, care and movement of equines.
Equestrian centres are encouraged to review their biosecurity plans and staff scheduling. Where possible, equestrian centres are encouraged to divide those caring for equines into at least two rotational teams to ensure continuity of appropriate care for the equines. Thus, if a member or team is required to self-isolate or enter quarantine, the other team(s) can ensure continuity of care for the equines onsite.
Additionally, EC and the PTSOs recommend the following as best practices:
- Adhere to applicable government requirements (e.g. those dictated by states of emergency);
- Adhere to applicable social distancing and hygiene recommendations from applicable local, provincial/territorial and federal health authorities;
- Individuals experiencing symptoms of illness must stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days as per guidelines from local, provincial/territorial and federal health authorities;
- The level of risk involved in equestrian sport is high; in order to alleviate pressure on an already overburdened healthcare system during this pandemic, precautions to reduce the risk of accidents should be taken; and,
- Contact your insurance provider with questions regarding your coverage.
As members of the Canadian equestrian community, we empathize with all those who are so deeply affected by this situation and are fully aware of the severe financial implications of this suspension of business operations. EC and the PTSOs are working diligently to understand and plan for the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the equestrian industry. We are examining and advocating for possible mitigations of financial losses with the appropriate regulatory bodies while prioritizing the health and safety of our community above all else.
EC encourages the continued use of biosecurity best practices to ensure the health and safety of humans and equines alike.
Biosecurity refers to the set of principles and practices used to reduce the risks posed by pathogens. The National Farm and Facility Level Biosecurity Standard for the Equine Sector provides measures that horse owners and custodians may take to minimize the introduction of pathogens onto a property, contain the spread of pathogens within the property and/or limit their spread off the property.
It it important for facility owners, managers and custodians to review their farm- and facility-specific biosecurity plan for both humans and equines (see Section 3 of the National Farm and Facility Level Biosecurity Standard for the Equine Sector), including the potential for a farm or facility owner, manager or caretaker to fall ill or become quarantined. Consider the following recommendations should key persons within a facility fall ill or become quarantined:
- Update current daily routines and management procedures in an available format should the central facility management person be unavailable and to ensure all information is readily available for temporary replacement person(s);
- Review current essential needs inventory for a two- to three-week period, including hay, shavings, feed and equine medication;
- Establish a communication system for all owners, riders, and third-party service providers to understand daily prevention and biosecurity procedures; including signage; and,
- Consider a contingency plan for the delivery of essential goods should the facility or household be quarantined (identification of a neutral drop off point).
For information on COVID-19 as it relates to equines and recommended practices for biosecurity, please visit following resources:
- EC Horse Health and Welfare Webpage
- National Farm and Facility Level Biosecurity Standard for the Equine Sector
- Canadian Federation of Agriculture List of Resources on COVID-19
- World Organisation for Animal Health Questions and Answers on COVID-19
- COVID-19: Caring for your horse during a pandemic - Ontario Animal Health Network