IHSA horse show COVID-19 protocols and best practices

IHSA 2020/2021 Season Potential Accommodations Due to COVID 19 Effective 7/1/2020

Below is the plan for return to competition for the IHSA for the 2020/2021 season. It is the hope of the Executive Committee that regions are able to move forward as normal; however, we recognize that there could be challenges in some parts of the country. To address these concerns, the below accommodations are being offered.

These accommodations are to be applied out of NECESSITY and not CONVENIENCE. Regions will have the option to do what is best for their area, BUT are required to appeal to the Executive Committee for any accommodations.

Options available based upon situation within the region:

1.    All schools in the region are in session and able to attend competitions.
a.    Competitions continue as scheduled.
b.    Teams and individuals earn points toward post-season competition as normal.

2.    The majority of schools in the region are in session and able to attend competitions, but other schools in the region are closed or only on-line and will not be able to compete at all during the entire year.
a.    Schools that can compete will continue with a normal competition schedule assuming the region can meet Rule 4200 Minimum Requirements for Regular Member Shows.
b.    Schools that are closed will not rejoin IHSA until they are open and able to compete again.
c.    Teams and individuals earn points toward post-season competitions as normal.

3.    Schools in the region stay on-line for fall semester and return to in-person classes in spring semester.
a.    Spring competitions continue as scheduled.
b.    If insufficient competitions can be scheduled to reach the minimum IHSA requirement for post-season competition, the region can appeal for an accommodation.
c.    Teams and individuals earn points at shows held toward post-season competitions.
d.    The region can appeal for point lowering for Open and Alumni riders if necessary.

4.    Schools in region return to in-person classes in fall, but schools close early for fall semester.
a.    Shows that have been held count toward post-season competition.
b.    The region should look to schedule the remainder of regular season shows for spring semester if possible.
c.    If the region is unable to complete the season per minimum IHSA requirements, the region can appeal for an accommodation for change of minimum competition number if needed.
d.    The region can appeal for point lowering for Open and Alumni riders, if necessary.

5.    Not all schools in the region can compete in all fall or all spring regular season shows due to school travel policies.
a.    The region can appeal for accommodations.
b.    Possibility of having fewer shows count toward post-season competition based on the number of shows where the entire region can compete, eg. Each team can count the best of X shows during the year.
c.    The region can appeal for point lowering for Open and Alumni riders if necessary.

6.    Not enough schools in the region are open or will allow their riders to travel for competitions.
a.    The region can appeal for accommodations.
b.    The region could combine with another region for the 2020/2021 season.
c.    Allow schools to compete in another region for the year (schools from one region be assigned to different regions according to geographic lines. This would only be for the 2020-21 competition year).
d.    Schools that changed the region for the 2020-21 competition year would be required to compete in that region for the entire season (could not switch back to former region part way through the year).
e.    The region can appeal for a possible exemption from Rule 2103 sections A and/or B, regarding the minimum number of competing members for a Region to be eligible to send riders and teams to the post-season.

7.    The region faces a unique situation not mentioned above:
The region can construct a plan for what might work for its schools and appeal for such accommodations.


IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER

These accommodations are to be applied out of NECESSITY and not CONVENIENCE.

There will be no lowering of points for individual riders in Hunter Seat classes Introductory, Novice, Limit or Intermediate, nor in Western classes Beginner, Rookie, Level 1 or Level 2.

Only accommodations officially approved by the Executive Committee are valid.

All competitions MUST comply with state and local COVID 19 regulations and protocols. IHSA COVID 19 guidelines for best practices at IHSA competitions will be made available as soon as possible. Information will be distributed to all member colleges and coaches and available on ihsainc.com.

Questions? Contact your region president or zone chair. Find contact information here.


COVID-19 Best Practices

Effective July 1, 2020 and until further notice from IHSA, the following protocols are at MANDATORY all IHSA events.

Verification of personal temperature of less than 99.5 degrees before arriving on show grounds.

Regardless of temperature, do not attend any IHSA event if you are feeling ill, showing any signs that could potentially be related to COVID-19, or if you have been in contact with anyone diagnosed or showing symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to the event.

Face coverings (masks) must be worn in any setting where there is a possibility of being within six feet of other individuals (not members of their immediate household), unless mounted.

Attendees will be expected to provide their own masks.

Hands must be washed and/or sanitized upon arrival at show grounds and frequently while in attendance.

  • Attendees should bring a personal supply of hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet between non-family members.
  • Advise the IHSA Host College if any person is diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days after attending an IHSA Event.
  • If an individual needs an accommodation due to a verifiable health condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please notify the show host at least 24 hours prior to the start of the competition.

ALL PERSONS ON THE SHOW GROUNDS MUST FOLLOW ANY HOST FACILITY REQUIREMENTS IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE.


The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) recognizes the health and safety of participants as a top priority, and will continue to define important safety measures in response to COVID-19. However, participants, attendees, vendors and all others who may be physically present at an IHSA-sanctioned event must be aware and acknowledge that attendance at any group sporting event carries with it the risk of exposure to airborne viruses, including COVID-19.

IHSA members must acknowledge the inherent risks, including the public health risk presented by the Coronavirus, of participation/attendance in a group sporting event, and that IHSA cannot guarantee personal physical safety and cannot be held liable for participants’ or attendees’ possible exposure to viral disease.

Programs may be modified or suspended immediately and without notice due to causes beyond the IHSA’s reasonable control and occurring without its fault or negligence including, but not limited to, acts of god, fire, wars, governmental action, terrorism, epidemic, pandemic, or any other event beyond the IHSA's control.

THE IHSA WILL CONSISTENTLY MONITOR THE COVID-19 SITUATION AND ADAPT ACCORDINGLY. NATIONAL/STATE/LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND/OR HEALTH DEPARTMENT OR INSTITUTIONAL RULES MAY DIFFER FROM THESE GUIDELINES. IN ALL CASES, THE MORE RESTRICTIVE REGULATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS WILL PREVAIL.

PLEASE REVIEW THE APPROPRIATE INFORMATION BEFORE HOSTING OR ATTENDING AN IHSA EVENT.

 

Effective July 1, 2020 and until further notice from IHSA,
the following protocols are RECOMMENDED at all IHSA events.

 

 

BEFORE THE SHOW

 

Communications

GOOD – Email coaches schedule updates throughout the day.
BETTER – Use social media to post schedule updates and class results in real time.
BEST – Use a mass-texting app (Remind, What's App, etc.).

 

Scheduling

GOOD – Publish schedule and distribute with time estimates for class start times and rider counts.
BETTER – Plan to keep similar level horses and riders in the facility at the same time and allow them to leave when they finish.
BEST – Use a streamlined schedule to facilitate quick entry and exit for riders and horses.

 

Arena and Jumps

GOOD – Designated crew allowed to touch equipment in the arena.
Use hand sanitizer before and after entering the ring.
BETTER – Designated crew assigned to specific jumps or equipment.
Organize equipment so that it requires few adjustments.
BEST – Equipment is set so that it does not need any additional adjustment.
When equipment comes out of place, one designated person will fix it

 

Bathrooms

GOOD – If indoor bathrooms are not available, rent new porta johns.
Have sanitizer inside and outside the porta johns
Signs posted encouraging hand cleaning
BETTER – Separate bathrooms for staff and spectators.
Soap and water available for hand washing.
Disinfect surfaces every 4 hours.
BEST – Have multiple hand sanitizer/ hand washing stations.
Signage throughout facility.
Continuous disinfection.

 

Cleaning and Disinfecting

GOOD – High-touch areas have spray disinfectant and paper towels/wipes: mounting area, bathrooms, entrances/exits to indoor areas, judge's table, and secretary's office.
Reduce number of high touch areas, prop doors open so minimal contact and bottlenecks.
Ensure adequate trash cans and empty often- preferably without lids.
BETTER – Remind participants and teams to bring their own hand sanitizer.
Dedicated cleaning crew to disinfect all high touch areas (bleach/ wipe all dootknobs/ light switches/ common surfaces) every 4 hours.
BEST – Provide many sanitizer stations, signage, and dedicated crew to disinfect every 2 hours or sooner and to wipe common surfaces continuously.

 

Officials – Judges

GOOD – Judges should be seated following social distancing guidelines at least 6' away from others, including scribes and announcer.
If seated indoors with another person, masks are encouraged.
Signage should be used to distance individuals at least 6' from any official.
Hand sanitizer should be on the judges' table.
Have one designated runner for the judge.
BETTER – Judges, scribes and announcers will be seated at least 6' apart and have radios for communication.
BEST – Judges may supply their own scribe (a member of household).

 

Officials – Stewards

GOOD – Stewards should be positioned following proper social distancing guidelines of at least 6ft apart from others.
BETTER – Stewards will be located safely and strategically to monitor horse draw as well as show activities.
BEST – Stewards will have charged radios for communication.

 

Spectators – Indoor Show

GOOD – Manager designates one staff member to keep head count and enforce proper distancing measures in all congregation areas of the event grounds.
Clear signage and policies for spectator areas.
No competitors other than riders mounting for the current class and 2 Team representatives in the venue.
No chairs in spectator areas.
BETTER –
BEST – Live stream/FB Live/Zoom classes.
No spectators other than the coaches and 2 Team representatives

 

Spectators – Outdoor Show or Large Coliseum

GOOD – Manager designates one staff member to keep head count and enforce proper distancing measures in all congregation areas of the event grounds.
Clear signage and policies for spectator areas.
No competitors other than riders mounting for the current class and 2 Team representatives in the venue.
No chairs in spectator areas.
BETTER – Monitored spectator area will follow social distancing guidelines, separating family groups by marked-out 6ft designated areas.
No competitors other than riders mounting for the current class in the venue.
No chairs in spectator areas.
BEST – Live stream/FB Live/Zoom classes.
No spectators other than the coaches and 2 Team representatives

 

Stabling and Horse Providers

GOOD – Each horse provider should have designated stalls with 1 tack stall on the end of designated stalls section
Empty stalls assigned between groups of horse.
Horse providers should have hand sanitizer available in tack area.
Only horse providers and assigned holders allowed in barn.
BETTER – Hand sanitizer available at end of each aisle and must be used upon entering/leaving.
Signage that no visitors are allowed.
BEST – Day ship in horses and work out of the trailer.
Bring all supplies needed for horses for the day including large water storage containers, drinking buckets, wash buckets and sponges (for sponging off horses at the conclusion of their work day).

 

DAY OF THE SHOW

 

Awards and Prizes

GOOD – Awards table outside with one person designated as Awards Coordinator to distribute ribbons/ prizes to each individual throughout the day.
The Awards Coordinator should wear a mask and have a protective barrier sheet if possible, in addition to dedicated supply of hand sanitizer.
BETTER – Each team chooses one representative to pick up ribbons/prizes for the team throughout the day from the Awards Coordinator.
BEST – Awards/Prizes are noted and compiled for each team throughout the day and picked up by one team representative at the completion of the competition.

 

Coaches Packet

GOOD – Only one coach representative is allowed at a time in the office.
The secretary distributes packets to a single team coach.
The Secretary should wear a mask and have a protective barrier sheet (plastic or glass) if possible, in addition to dedicated supply of hand sanitizer.
BETTER – Email show program, horse descriptions, point rider forms, and add-drop form to coaches 24-48 hours before the show.
Team Packets and programs spread out for coaches to access on a separate table at least 6’ away from the secretary’s desk.
Coaches drop off point rider/ add drop form in a folder/bin placed on that same table.
BEST – Everything in ‘Better’ category except: Coaches email point rider forms in advance of the show or if cellular service and wi-fi allow, utilize google forms or other document for point rider submission.

 

Course Walk

GOOD – Masks required, enforce social distancing between riders during walk.
BETTER – Walk by division prior to division start.
BEST – Separate walk for each class AND schedule walk by team

 

Food Concession

GOOD – Pre-packaged food only.
Use of a protective barrier sheet (plastic or glass) if possible.
Food line standing spots marked out in 6-foot increments.
Avoid cash transactions (payment by Venmo, Paypal, check etc).
Hand sanitizer available at the table.
BETTER – Have all food and concessions located outdoors.
BEST – Notice in the prize list stating limited or no concessions available at the show.
Participants bring their own food and water as needed.

 

Fundraising at a Show

GOOD – Multiple raffle options are placed on a table that is greater than 6 feet away from individuals.
Receptacles for tickets and a description of the raffle option placed closer to individuals so that they may review what is in the raffle.
Individuals will fill out their own raffle entry.
The designated raffle supervisor will supply disposable pencils or individuals must provide their own pen to fill out the tickets.
Avoid cash transactions (payment by Venmo, Paypal, check).
Hand sanitizer available at the table.

 

Horse Descriptions, Course Maps, Reining Patterns

GOOD – Include copies of the horse descriptions, course maps, patterns/ tests, etc in the coach packet.
Changes posted in a limited access area with social distancing markers.
Suggestion that coaches photograph pages to share with teams.
BETTER – Horse descriptions and course maps should be emailed to coaches 24 hrs before the show for the coaches to share with riders and print their own copies.
Coaches drop off point rider/ add drop form in a folder/bin placed on that same table.

 

Horse Draw

GOOD – Steward and other non-partisan show official do the draw together employing social distancing throughout the process.
Posted in a limited-access area with social distancing markers.
Suggestion that coaches photograph pages to share with teams.
BETTER – Steward and other non-partisan show official do the draw together employing social distancing throughout the process.
Show staff and coaches scribe their own sheets while socially distancing or secretary makes copies of draw sheets and coaches/show staff pick up a copy.
Coaches drop off point rider/ add drop form in a folder/bin placed on that same table.
BEST – Virtual draw with links available to coaches/ riders. (Zoom, Facebook Live, Google Sheet)

 

Horse Handlers

GOOD – Limiting the same horse to each handler.
Horse handlers assigned prior to start of show.
Paddock master will oversee which horses are to be present and enforce social distancing in the holding area.
BETTER – Handler uses a lead rope instead of reins (halter over bridle or clipped to bit) - one lead rope to a handler.
Horse handlers assigned prior to start of show.
BEST – Limit the number of horses in holding area at any given time.
When manager prepares horse grid, they take into account limiting how many horses are present and scheduling all similar rides as closely together as possible.

 

PLEASE NOTE:
The above are suggested "Best Practices " for IHSA Competitions.

These are designed to augment the USEF COVID 19 Toolkit For Competition Organizers as well as CDC guidelines.

These COVID-19 operational recommendations were originally created by the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) and have been modified, with permission, for the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA).