The past number of months have been incredibly frustrating for us all as we have not been allowed to continue with our equestrian pursuits due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. We must remember that the virus was rampant in our communities last December when these current restrictions were introduced but thankfully the numbers affected have fallen and continue to do so, giving us all some hope. The recent lifting of the 5km travel restriction, earlier this week, gives us renewed hope that we will be able to resume our activities soon.
Throughout all of these recent restrictions the AIRC has been in constant touch with our governing body, Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), with proposals and suggestions to allow us resume our activities but on each occasion these were rejected. During this time the Olympic disciplines, with their mixed membership, were permitted to continue as an exemption was provided by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) to allow elite/professionals and producers to continue. The exemption did not extend to amateur riders and HSI is aware of the continuing problem of policing this as individuals continue to compete at shows who do not necessarily meet HSI’s criteria.
We would like to thank our members for their patience, support and resilience in adhering to HSI’s protocols as we have not been able to hold any activities at this time. We ‘stayed at home’ in order to protect ourselves, our families, our loved ones and our communities. We understand the incredible frustration this has caused but we are hopeful that we will be able to resume activities later this month. In the latest correspondence received from HSI, they are hopeful that we will be able to resume outdoors from the 26th April subject to revised regulations being published by the Government and further advices from DAFM and Sport Ireland which are anticipated this week.
One of the biggest problems throughout this pandemic has been the continuing uncertainty. As such the Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel the AIRC Riding Clubs Festival for the second year in a row. It takes months of planning to run this two-day show and the continuing uncertainty regarding our activities combined with the Governments medium term outlook for festivals and events, means that it will be impossible to stage the show as we normally would. This is extremely disappointing for us all but we must do what is best for our members and supporters at this time.
The AIRC Riding Clubs Festival has faced many challenges in the past such as foot and mouth and flooding since it began in 1990 but we will rebound once again to ensure that the 2022 show will knock the socks off any previous holding of the event.
In the interim, we want our full activities to resume as soon as possible in a safe environment for our members so we can all enjoy the sport we hold so dear.