The Washington International Horse Show Board of Directors announced today (July 23) that the 2020 WIHS will be held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, Florida. WIHS posted the announcement on a variety of social media platforms as well as issuing the following statement on its website.
For Immediate Release
From the US Equestrian Communications Department
WASHINGTON. July 23, 2020–The Board of Directors and show management teams of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show (PNHS) and Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) presented by MARS Equestrian, are pleased to announce their venue and dates for 2020.
The PNHS and WIHS are committed to providing a safe environment for competitors, families, and staff in the face of the ongoing pandemic, while still meeting the requirements of sponsors and competition schedules. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in place in Harrisburg, Pa., and Washington, D.C., the PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center and Capital One Arena remain closed and unable to host the PNHS and WIHS, respectively.
Following a comprehensive search for an alternative venue, the PNHS and WIHS Board of Directors have selected the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, Florida, as the best location for this year’s events with the PNHS scheduled Oct. 8-17, followed by WIHS Oct. 20-25, 2020.
The change of venue and dates for these competitions have been approved by the United States Equestrian Federation. However, in line with the FEI regulations, the venue change for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ – North America League qualifier in Washington is being reviewed by the FEI. A recommendation will be prepared and presented to the FEI Board for a final decision. Additional information regarding this approval will be made as soon as it is available.
Hosting these historic indoor competitions outdoors will be a change from tradition, but in a challenging and uncertain year, each show is dedicated to providing a safe and high-quality competition experience for exhibitors, their families, and sponsors that will be remembered for many years to come.
PNHS and WIHS will continue to work closely with local and state governments along with venue management to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Florida and are prepared to adjust accordingly based on health requirements and guidance from the CDC and USEF.
The Bob Thomas Equestrian Center is a well-established facility having previously hosted the Southeast Medal Finals, World Cup qualifying events, and the World Cup Finals.
Spread over 23 acres, the outdoor venue can facilitate effective social distancing where all USEF COVID-19 protocols will be followed to the fullest extent, including not permitting spectators. It contains multiple competition rings with newly installed, top-quality, all-weather footing, as well as recently updated permanent stabling, newly renovated restrooms, a spacious viewing area, and more.
Both PNHS and WIHS are developing revised show schedules for competition to be held in two arenas with classes running only during the daytime, minimizing the time spent on the competition grounds each day per USEF recommendations.
Changes to qualifying criteria and further venue information will be updated in the coming weeks.
For more information, please visit www.wihs.org.