(first published in the August 2020 Equiery)
The organizers of the Capital Challenge Horse Show have confirmed that this year’s show will go on as scheduled September 25-October 4 at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro. Show Manager Oliver Kennedy told The Equiery that Prince George’s County health officials cleared the show’s COVID-19 plan late in June. “We’ve been working closely with the County Commissioner, Park and Planning, the Maryland Horse Industry Board and [PGEC] arena staff to get everything sorted out,” Kennedy stated. “Right now we are cleared to use the whole grounds including the indoor arena.”
Kennedy and his team laid out a plan for a spectator-less competition that will offer the same high quality competition as the past 26 shows. Kennedy, who is also a judge and sits on a variety of show and industry related committees, said “we’ve been watching a lot of what other shows have been doing and have taken the best of what is working at those other shows to use here at PG.” He also said that MARS Equestrian has signed on to sponsor the show’s live feed on USEF Network again this year so spectators can watch from their homes.
Kennedy said the show plans to run hack classes in the covered arena this year and are making other class modifications to avoid clustering at in gates and warm up areas. “The covered ring is the biggest ring and has multiple in/out gates so we can spread out the hacks better there,” he added. “We are building up a stock pile of gloves and such and are ready for the worst and hoping for the best.”
There will also be temperature checks, limits to the number of people on the grounds at any one time, and face masks required at all times unless mounted. “This [face masks] isn’t a personal decision, this is a business decision,” Kennedy stated. “In the safest way possible, we need our industry to go on!”
Due to the impact COVID-19 has had on shows so far this season, the qualifying guidelines for the World Championship Hunter Rider Program have been modified. The 2020 qualifying guidelines can be found at www.capitalchallenge.org.
In addition, Capital Challenge will host the 2020 North American League National Finals. NAL’s West Coast Finals have been canceled for 2020.