Santa Fe, N.M. – Aug. 7, 2020 – The United States Dressage Federation [USDF] announced Region 5’s Great American/USDF Regional Championships and USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Finals have been cancelled for 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally set to take place in Parker, Colorado, the regional championships moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and were scheduled to occur Sept. 17-20 at HIPICO Santa Fe. Region 5 encompasses Arizona, Colorado, Eastern Montana, New Mexico, West Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
The HIPICO Santa Fe venue is typically home to a popular summer jumping series as well as Split Rock Jumping Tour’s Santa Fe International CSI2*, but the calendar of events have been decimated this year with cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has implemented some of the most restrictive coronavirus restrictions in the country which includes a 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travelers, whether traveling by air or by vehicle.
“It’s very hard, but the cancellation is due to the state’s restrictions. The facility and I were trying our best to make it work but we are unable to due to the level of restrictions in place by the state,” explained Region 5’s Director and the championship’s show secretary Heather Petersen. “Another facility in New Mexico tried to run a very small schooling show and the state shut that down as well. They have a 14-day quarantine in place so that doesn’t allow people to go back and forth between the hotel and the showgrounds.”
In addition to her position on the USDF Board, Petersen is a USEF Technical Delegate, FEI Level 1 Steward, and she is the owner of a show management business called TwoWhite Feet, Inc. Though the large regional championships were cancelled, she noted her region’s success following COVID-19 safety protocols.
“The licensed shows and horse trials I’ve managed so far this summer have gone smoothly with good attendance and the safety practices we implemented have been supported by the competitors as well,” said Petersen. “We looked at moving venues but they either had scheduling conflicts with other events on the dates we needed or they also had stricter restrictions based on the state or county they were in. For example, the Colorado Horse Park has jumper shows but they are not allowing out of state horses for their competitions and Estes Park has a conflicting show. We spent four months trying to figure out how to make it work but we unfortunately were unable to pull something together.
“The governor of New Mexico, thankfully, has been very receptive talking with us and we’ve worked hand in hand with the state of New Mexico,” she said. “One thing people don’t necessarily know that is really important is there are not many hospitals in New Mexico and the governor has kept the state quite locked down because they border hot spots like Arizona and Texas. They also have a large Native American population which has little infrastructure. We can understand their position as they don’t want a lot of people traveling in and out of the state because they don’t have the means necessary in case an outbreak occurs.”
As a contingency offer for Region 5 riders who are aiming to qualify for the US Dressage Finals or simply wish to compete at a regional championship, USDF has waived the region change fee for the year.
“USDF has waived the fee to change regions so they could travel to Region 4, Region 6 or Region 7 if they would like to,” continued Petersen. “Those would be the closest but they could even go down to Region 9 in Houston. We are trying to give them every opportunity to travel safely if they so choose in order to compete in a different region’s championship.”
At this time, all other Great American/USDF Regional Championships and USDF Dressage Seat Medal Semi-Finals are proceeding as scheduled.
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