Dear <<First Name>>,
Under normal circumstances I would wish you all a Happy New Year, but this has certainly not been the start to 2021 that we had all hoped for. The ‘stay at home’ orders for England, Scotland and Wales has meant that once again all BD competition and training activity has had to be suspended across the three nations.
While this was perhaps not unexpected, it is still unwelcome and frustrating in terms of timing, as we were all looking forward to the Petplan Equine Area Festivals and Regional Championships that were due to take place over the next couple of months. Although the current lockdown measures are due to be reviewed again at the end of January for Wales and Scotland, with England due on 15 February, realistically it is likely to be at least early March before we are able to resume activity.
As a result, the BD team are busy working on contingency plans for major fixtures and competition dates in the next two to three month period to ensure that your hard-earned qualification efforts are not lost, wherever possible. A number of options are under consideration, although it’s quite a complex logistical puzzle, so please do bear with us while we explore all of the potential scenarios.
Further details will follow in due course; however, it may take some time to finalise alternative plans, depending on the duration of the current suspension of activity and how quickly restrictions can be eased when lockdown ends. Rest assured we will update members at the earliest opportunity, but in the meantime thank you for your patience.
We are all unfortunately now well versed in how these restrictions affect our everyday lives, but we have updated our member Q&A to answer your specific questions about the latest lockdown, particularly when it comes to being able to ride, exercise, train or care for the welfare of your horse. We are acutely aware of the huge economic impact that this continues to have on everyone across the equestrian sector, so we have also included some useful links to information on the government websites about the financial assistance that is available.
While the British Dressage offices in Meriden are closed for the foreseeable future, we will still provide a full service to members remotely as the team continues to work from home. Reduced staffing arrangements will again apply during the suspension period, so we are grateful for your understanding if it takes slightly longer than normal to respond to your calls and emails.
We will also be continuing the successful ‘BD at home’ initiative that we started during the last lockdown in November, with more content provided online, including interviews, features and training tips to keep you informed and entertained while you’re unable to get out and compete. There are also plenty of opportunities to continue judge training online, with a busy calendar of Zoom sessions already scheduled for the winter period.
Please continue to check the BD website and social media channels for more details on what is currently available. In addition, don’t forget that coverage from the BD National Convention in November is still available on Horse & Country TV until 19 February if you purchased a 90 day pass. This was our first foray into running ‘virtual’ training events, but it was a huge success and something that we will look to continue in other ways this year.
Work also continues apace on our new judge education system, while we will also use this opportunity during lockdown to make further progress on developing our IT systems, as well as getting ready to launch our new strategy, new brand identity and other exciting commercial initiatives once activity is able to resume again fully in the spring.
Please be assured that our members’ interests are at the forefront of every decision we make. We understand the ongoing challenges that everyone is facing, whether professionally or personally. That is why we are so grateful for your ongoing contributions during these difficult times. We know it’s not easy, but continuing your membership and horse registrations help us to safeguard and protect the future of the sport that we all love.
As we proved in 2020 we have the resilience as a community to rise to these challenges and emerge even stronger, but we don’t take that support for granted. So on behalf of the Board of Directors and the whole team at BD, thank you for your loyalty and commitment to British Dressage. We couldn’t do it without you.
At this time it is difficult to predict exactly when we will be able to fully resume competition and training activity, in line with the previous protocols we successfully implemented last summer. There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations now being rolled out across the country. so we hope to be able to provide more positive updates in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, please take care and stay safe.