Lately there have been a couple of international key competitions on the eventing calendar that actually did run. One of these events was the World Championship for young horses. The other one the one and only CCI5*-L held in the year of 2020.
To be able to run the young horse event at Lion d’Angers, France the organisation went for a non spectator rule.
Even so, when looking at the live stream at this particular event there were a lot of people around the tracks. Not all of them wearing mouth masks and not all of them keeping any kind of social distance what so ever. At the CCI5*-L Pau, the organisation invited spectators to join in on the competition.
And here’s the thing. If riders want to go against both national and international travel advice it is their free choice. If spectators want to come watch cross country it is also their free choice.
Never mind they may be walking around as a one person corona super spreader. In the end of the day it is still their free choice to choose not to comply to any given rules or common sense.
But what about the grooms? Who looks out for them? Grooms have very little choice but to follow their rider’s to any kind of competition.
In the year of 2020 the amount of grooms that work for cash in hand is unfortunately still a huge problem in equestrian sport. No matter the discipline.
Working cash in hand means you’re like a sitting duck for being run over one way or the other.
In regards to leave your home stable and head for a competition, a lot of the grooms out there have no choice but to just do it.
Cause these boys and girls are so dependent on their employers good – or bad – spirits, they have zero to nada choice to oppose to any kind of travel plans across Europe. In and out of corona hot zones. Saying “no I don’t want to go” could mean your out on the street as little as one 1h later.
So in the choice of loosing their current living accommodations and income they just have to tag along. And by doing so they are facing the risk of contracting a serious version of corona infection.
Lately it has been a lot of talk about how we need to work harder for diversity in equestrian sport. In the US an eventing competition even shut down because of a mega drama about their 20 year old name.
Question is who looks out for the grooms? Considering the fact international competitions are still held even after show jumper(s) allegedly picked up Covid-19 at St. Tropez – Grimaud, the answer seems to be absolutely no one.