For the Welfare of the Sport! Eric Lamaze Asks Equestrian Community to Respect Rigid COVID-19 Protocols

2020. News Eric Lamaze's Statement on COVID-19 Safety Measures Hortence Lancesseur

Lier, Belgium – July 24, 2020 – Eric Lamaze (CAN) released a statement on Friday addressing the need for all equestrian community members to follow COVID-19 Safety Protocols more seriously. He believes it is the only way for the sport to continue without putting its stakeholders at risk, nor having the possibility of all events being cancelled.

The Canadian equestrian legend stated the following in his letter:

“Today is a sad day. We all were looking forward to spending the week at Lier but in the end, I decided I cannot continue to compete here and support this show. I will not participate at a show that uses a 1.45m €4,000 speed class with 252 riders in it to qualify for the ranking class the following day. This morning after the show started, they decided to divide the class into 3 different groups, each jumping 3 different courses for this one class. This means that a rider can have a slow clear round and still doesn’t qualify to compete in any rankings classes anymore. That is not right and doesn’t make any sense! I’m happy to be pre qualified for the GP but I put a young horse in this class because I didn’t want to put my experienced horse in a €4,000 speed class. What a terrible system and a disappointing decision from the organizers.”

I understand that everyone is so ready to show and I am too. However, I’m not prepared to do senseless things with our horses to get 1000€. It’s a shame really.”

“We were so happy to be here – the facility is nice, big ring, and atmosphere is great. It’s unfortunate the lack of common sense for the horses and riders.”

“On another note, I also want to call attention to the FEI and show organizers requirements regarding mask and glove use at the show. The grooms have to wear a mask and glove in warm up area, but riders walking the course with their student do not have to. The riders have the most contact with other people and therefore should absolutely be wearing a mask. I was so disappointed to see that on the entire show grounds, I only saw 5 riders wearing a mask. I understand that everybody has the freedom to make that choice but why not take all the best precautions to stay safe and healthy so the sport we love will be able to go on without any incidents or issues. In my opinion, if we are not careful of that and taking all the possible precautions we will soon be back home riding in our own ring again with no shows. The responsibility falls on all of us, but especially the FEI and all show organizers to ensure that we will be able continue showing like we all hope to. Without the small shows following the necessary precautions at this point, the big shows we all want to go to will not be able to happen. 2 weeks ago I was in Opglabbeek where no one was wearing any masks – to the ring or the restaurant. I was so disappointed to see this. Once again the facility there is incredible and I give them credit for that. After the show, I took the time to call the owner to explain my point. He was very nice and very understanding of my point. I felt that he realized he has an obligation to do better and could’ve done so to keep everyone’s health a priority. But one week later I was so disappointed to learn that on the Friday night of the show they had a big party with no masks that required the police to come and stop it. Is that really necessary?! In my opinion, it was a completely careless and reckless decision that lacked any common sense. The show in Opglabbeek should consider its position in the industry with its beautiful facility. They should rethink their priorities- is it more important to hold a beautiful show to produce horses or to do a party and put people in danger! Again, was that party really necessary?? I think not at all.”

“Please understand that I love showing in Belgium and want to be able to fully support them. However, with the current state of the world and COVID-19, I put everyone’s health and safety first and think others should do the same. It’s the only way we will all get through this.”

“I wish everybody in Lier good luck this weekend. I want everyone to know that it was my personal decision to come home, even though I was qualified for the GP, my rider Chris was qualified for the 1.45 ranking class today and Hayley was qualified for the 1.40 final. I cannot support this kind of show! I am open to any ideas if people want to contact me.”

Source: Eric Lamaze

Photo: © Jumper News / Hortense Lancesseur de Beaunay