Quarteira, Faro, Portugal – July 29, 2020 – The Portuguese Equestrian Federation (FEP) has confirmed that the CSIO 3* of Portugal, in the past held at the Sociedade Hípica Portuguesa (SHP) in Lisbon, will take place at the Vilamoura Equestrian Centre from the 16th to the 19th of November, 2020.
There was a bit of controversy regarding the change but the the President of the Portuguese Equestrian Federation (FEP), José Elias da Costa, put an end to speculations through an official statement, reassuring that the competition will take place at the Vilamoura Equestrian Centre.
At the same time, we also received a letter from Tamara Czartoryski, a member of the Sociedade Hípica Portuguesa, (SHP), supporting the move to Vilamoura. She states the following in her letter:
“As a business owner and a member who is based at SHP in Lisbon, I, applaud the change of venue, I am sure that this letter will be met with very mixed emotions, however, I feel it is imperative to put forth some points as to why this change is positive for our sport and will hopefully force the hand of SHP to in fact move forward with the times and not stay decaying in the past.In the past few days there has been much outrage on social media and via email exchange from the board of S.H.P. in regards to the change of venue of the CSIO 3* event due to be held in Lisbon this year.”
“2020 has been a challenging year for all and with every challenge, we must learn to adapt to change and to better ourselves and our businesses. In a year when we are hit with a global pandemic that is taking lives and businesses in its wake, a year that has seen a huge movement in regards to Black Lives Matter, equality, and diversity, 2020 demands that we as people and businesses change to better ourselves and to implement a new way of working and treating others.”
“Here are the reasons why I believe the change of venue is in the interest of both Public Safety and forcing the hand of SHP to make fundamental changes that should’ve been made years ago.”
“On June 6th I sent an email to the board of SHP asking them for help due to the fact that many Covid protocols were not being adhered to, and this was putting myself and my team at great risk. I asked for their assistance in the matter to which I got no response, no help or assistance. If the board can not help a paying member in critical times then they should not be allowed to hold shows at all. Before SHP worry about holding a 3* show they should focus on helping and keeping their members safe.”
“Vilamoura has a much larger and adaptable facility where they can ensure the Covid protocols are met and they can keep the Riders and Groom safe, they have the facilities for parking, space for grooms needing to sleep in their trucks and in the end if we look at the facts the Algarve is not having the outbreaks that we in Lisbon are struggling with.”
“The other issue that now needs to be addressed is their archaic laws in place at SHP, that in today’s current climate need to be forced to change. SHP does not allow for grooms to eat in the restaurant or to ride horses at the club this is an outrageous situation. Having worked in the Equestrian industry all over the world, I have never come across such an antiquated law, I have asked on many occasions that they change these laws as they are discriminatory and frankly cannot continue. We can not support an institution that does not give the same rights to every human being in SHP. Up until recently, grooms children were not even allowed to ride at the club, I don’t know if this has since changed.”
“Grooms are the most fundamental part of every show jumping team, In every other country I have worked in and competed in, I have never come across a groom not being allowed to eat under the same roof as his team nor for a groom not to be allowed to ride. I questioned SHP if this was about a dress code issue as this of course could be implemented to maintainability certain etiquette, it is not. It is simply not allowing someone entry due to their job description!”
“As the CSIO is in an international show it cannot be held in a club that is so prejudiced and goes against promoting our sport, equality and everything that we are fighting to change in countries all across the world. SHP needs to change dramatically.”
“It is now the time for FEP to step forwards and start helping the equestrian community in Portugal put a name for its self on the map. We have so many endless possibilities in this country and potential to really make this market grow, but instead of the shows and organizers working together they work against each other constantly arguing and sniping and trying to steal dates.”
“If they could all come together and find a way to work in harmony and synergies to create more shows across the country it will be more opportunities for our riders to produce young horses and to bring people in from abroad.”
“At the moment it’s very rare for people to come here shopping for horses and we simply don’t have enough shows.”
“Show organizers need to look to working together to create more events across the country, so that international riders can come and compete here in Portugal. In the meantime with the assistance of FEP and the show organisers working together to put into plan new concepts, qualifiers, and opportunities for the industry that we could all benefit from.”
“We should not be worrying about which club is hosting the competition but ensuring that everyone can travel safely and that the shows go on.
If shows shut down again, many businesses that have just managed to survive will go under. I do not want to imagine the consequences if we all go back to just having to school our horses at home for another 4 months.”
“In the meantime let us be grateful that the CSIO 3* is happening this year, that we can go to shows and get our business moving. Let’s look towards working in unity and creating a safe environment for everyone. I hope that SHP can take this time to change their laws and regulations and the way they operate in general to fit into this modern and diverse world that we live in.”
Sources: Tamara Czartoryski / Federação Equestre Portuguesa – Portuguese Equestrian Federation / FEI
Photo: © Vilamoura Equestrian Centre