First, the FEI announced that all international equestrian events in Europe had to be cancelled due to an outbreak of the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1). Now, due to the outbreak of the Rhinovirus in Valencia, Spain. After extensive consultations with veterinarians of the Dutch Equestrian Federation and FEI and the umbrella organisations, there is a new date for the Dutch Masters 2021.
It has been decided that if the outbreak does not spread any further, The Dutch Masters can be staged from Friday 23rd till Sunday 25th of April in the Brabanthallen. First, the FEI decided to cancel all international events in Europe until the 28th of March. Then it decided to extend the lockdown to the 11th of April. Organisers of The Dutch Masters will follow developments in the coming weeks and, if needed, adjust the planned dates.
Organisers are keeping in mind that their priority is the safety of both competitors and horses. This is why the Dutch Masters will be staged behind closed doors. The organisation is working on a protocol together with Prof. Dr. Marianne Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Ultrecht University and with advisor of the Dutch Equestrian Federation Randy de Greef. Besides, the Dutch Masters veterinarian and the FEI will also take decisions.
This year’s event has had a positive effect on riders who are happy with the new date. Due to circumstances, there are not enough high level events, so riders’ cannot prepare accordingly for the Tokyo Olympic Games. This event will not only be COVID free, but also rhino-proof. Measures will include a veterinarian check-up upon arrival, regular temperature measurements and possibly a nose swab of the participating horses.
The world’s top equestrian riders in dressage and jumping have confirmed their participation. Isabell Werth, Germany’s dressage queen, stated: “I think it is great that The Dutch Masters is making every effort to organise the event. I will be there!”.
This April edition has a similar programme to the one scheduled in March. Follow one of the hardest competitions in equestrian sports, with dressage and jumping events, on Horse TV.