After our Club’s successful FEI in-person maintenance course and General Assembly in Prague, only 2 months ago, I did not expect to live today in a completely new reality.
The corona virus is leading to a loss of control over many aspects of our daily lives. We find ourselves having to adapt to new circumstances on a daily basis, and identify any actions we are able to take in order to successfully manage our lives. Life feels like a rollercoaster ride, and, like me, I am sure you are all asking ourselves: “Is this really happening?”
I want to express my feelings of sympathy to those of you who, either personally or whose loved ones, have contracted or will contract COVID-19. I realize that you have huge concerns, as personal health is our greatest asset.
In that light, I understand the measures that national authorities, National Federations and the FEI are being forced to take. These measures are essential in the battle to mitigate the risk to our personal health. There is no easy way out.
Last week when I went to ‘s Hertogenbosch as President of the Ground Jury for the Dutch Masters, there was still some small hope that it would have been possible to run the show without spectators. After our first sports meeting, it became clear that the new measures implemented by the Dutch government rendered this impossible and the event was called off. This was my personal experience, but I am convinced that most of you will have had similar experiences of cancelled shows. As officials, the impact on us is relatively low when compared to the enormous impact on organizers, riders, grooms and so many others whose world revolves around equestrian sport and activity.
In these challenging times, it is comforting to see that people are willing to help each other, as generosity, kindness and resilience are some of the characteristics that will help us to come through this crisis, and make us stronger.
We have to draw on these qualities in order to face the current and upcoming difficulties, and they will also assist us when the time comes to rebuild our world and our sport. Together we are strong. Regarding our Club, we have already started the initial preparation of our event that we still plan to hold in Rome next January. Our Vice President Eric Straus is heading a working group on the strategy of our Club for the coming years. We sent some proposals for rules changes to the FEI: one of the proposals is to increase our per diem. The impact of corona virus on the officials’ education system is also an ongoing topic in our communication with the FEI.
This is a time to set aside our differences and pull together, putting collective interest before our own.
Take care of yourselves, and each other.
Willem Luiten, president IJOC