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16 Comeback continued from page 8


social distancing we have lots of open seat- ing above the arena. Spectators can come to the ranch and enjoy the show with plenty of space for a healthy distance. Hopefully, people will notice all the


upgrades we’ve done to the facility for the shows. To handle the expected growth in the shows, I plan on having plenty of people to help get all the jobs done.


Paula Langan California Dressage Society


T


he California Dressage Society has many members anxiously eager to get back to showing, but of course


they also have questions and concerns. CDS Board members have made it a point to be included on all the webinars and Zoom meetings of the national organizations, so CDS can answer as many of those questions and con- cerns as possible.


CDS has been hosting live Facebook webi-


nars for our members with a panel of judges to answer submited and live questions about returning to showing. Some of the judges have traveled already and they shared their experiences with that part of shows and clinics.


CDS has also modified the qualifying


requirements for year end JR YR and CDS championships. Members were concerned there were not enough shows leſt on the cal- endar to get the required amount of scores. All of the show managers are working


hard to create a safe environment for riders to return to showing. Some large facilities have construction crews to remodel show office space and smaller venues have created other distancing measures. Riders need to keep informed about current protocol so the shows can continue safely. Each show pre- mium will have a best practices protocol for riders to follow. There will be no spectators, no score-


boards, no gathering. But riders will have a chance to get out there and show, and try out that new level or test, and enjoy the sport they love with their horse.


Marnye Langer Langer Equestrian Group


L


EG has three companies, and each is addressing its respective “comeback” differently.


There is LEG Shows & Events, producers of 15 Los Angeles area shows at Hansen Dam Horse Park and L.A. Equestrian Center as well as five hunter-jumper shows in Woodside and 10 slated in Colorado.


While USEF allowed shows to resume as


of June 1, we also have to obtain approv- al from governmental agencies. Multiple agencies have an interest in the approval process, and they are not always consistent. One of the most difficult challenges is working with non-horse people to explain horse activities. Our industry and sport occur out- doors, and by its nature is an isolated, indi- vidual activity. Research and data are show- ing that the likelihood of virus transmission is quite low, but much of the government decision-making seems to be more political- ly driven than fact-and-science driven. I am actively working with both the City


and the County to start having some very small, very controlled events. We hope to hold two day, non-USEF shows, and gradual- ly expand with the hope that by late summer or early fall we can offer successful USEF shows.


LEG operates the 38-acre Hansen Dam Horse Park via a concession agreement with the City of Los Angeles. A dozen trainers operate at HDHP, which hosts more than two dozen horse shows as well as numerous parties, meetings, and other social activi- ties that consume about 40 weekends, plus monthly Mexican Heritage Cultural Events. We have been gradually edging Hansen Dam Horse Park to being more and more open. L.A. County came out with a re-open- ing document a few weeks ago, but as a City of Los Angeles park we were supposed to stay closed. This was an incredibly difficult situation as other stables around us had trainers giving lessons and people coming to the barn to enjoy their horses. Despite following social distancing, face masks, and other requirements, we were more constrained. With a lot of emails and phone calls, including to our elected officials, we were able to “re-open” HDHP, but only for boarding and training activities. Events make up a significant part of our annual income, and those seem a way off. LEG’s Hansen Dam Riding School oper-


ates out of HDHP, and prior to the pandemic shutdown, the school was giving more than 500 riding lessons a month. More than 60 percent of its riders took their first lesson at HDRS, which keeps about 16 lesson horses. “For Hansen Dam Riding School, we were


again hampered by bureaucrats who had just enough horse language to be dangerous. They were insistent that “group lessons” could not happen, despite the fact that HDHP has more than a dozen arenas and they are all quite sizable. Then the County came out with a ruling that a group lesson


of two riders could occur in a round pen but not an arena. Somehow a 2,700 s.f. round pen was more appropriate than a 30,000 s.f. arena. Again, a lot of emails, phone calls, and parsing words, and our riding school is giving one-on-one instruction to very happy riders. Social distancing is occurring and people are outdoors enjoying themselves. The essence of “sport” this year is negligi-


ble. My focus is figuring out how to get the “motor” of our industry started up. We need to help our horse people – in the many roles and functions that exist – get back to work. Businesses, including individuals are going to fail and they don’t have to. This extended shutdown is really impacting our industry in a negative manner, and I am struggling to find the valid justification for it. People are going to return to the barn,


to shows, and horse activities and want to hang out with their friends and escape from their cares. We are going to have to contin- ue with social distancing and some level of face coverings, along with keeping things clean and lots of hand washing. I like to kind of joke that we all should have really clean tack. Give your bridle a good cleaning when you are done with all your barn activities, and your hands get washed too. If people are mindful, I think we can all


enjoy our horse activities and get a lot of ful- fillment. We are lucky because most aspects of our sport and recreation set us up for suc- cess. I am glad I am not involved in a high contact, indoor activity. What will be the biggest challenges in our


transition back to “normal”? I think horse shows are going to be the most difficult and the most changed experience. Initially, we are going to have to implement a “show and go” model. Riders come to the show, get on their horse, compete, and leave. So much about showing is social, even with the highly competitive aspects. Although right now people really want to go to shows, I wonder if that enthusiasm will continue once they experience the reality. I think that local shows, where people do not have to travel away from home are going to be much more popular. Who wants to travel, stay in a hotel, go to the horse show for two hours, and then return to hang out in your hotel room? We are fortunate to be in a large, urban


area where many of our customers do not have to travel from far away. We are look- ing to have weekend shows where people can stay at home. As we learn more about COVID-19 and start having events, we can then see if we can “open” events more and more, and allow people to hang out to some degree. I know we are going to look at new and different ways to have fun at a show. We


See Comeback, page 28


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