2020 will certainly be a year that we won’t forget. The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in a very different way of life for everyone. Many people have lost loved ones or lost the ability to be close to family and friends.
While some people have been unable to ride or visit their ponies in livery, other people remain unemployed with a major uncertainty for their future. It has and continues to be a worrying time for everyone but, despite everything, we have as a nation made a huge effort to contain the spread of this deadly virus.
Our efforts to date have been successful as the spread of the virus is slowing down. The Government, HSE and HSI continue to guide us to through the gradual lifting of restrictions. However, they are steadfast in reminding us that we all have a responsibility to contain the virus and any relaxation of our National effort could see a secondary peak and re-instatement of restrictions. What is certain is that these restrictions are now part of a new norm. We have been working closely with HSI in producing standard operating procedures which the Irish Pony Society will employ in an attempt to avoid transmission of the virus when we are in a position to resume our sport.
The Irish Pony Society takes the responsibility of the safety of our members, volunteers and judges very seriously. After considerable deliberation, the Council of the IPS have regretfully taken the decision to cancel the Championship Show which was due to take place in August. We understand that this will disappoint many people; however, the health and safety of all those who come together for the Championships has been our priority in making this decision.
As it is not possible to have large-scale gatherings and travel restrictions are in place, the IPS is currently not in a position to facilitate shows as they would be confined to Regional levels which is not logistically or economically feasible and would be contrary to our All-Ireland status.
As restrictions are gradually being lifted, I do not think we will ever take our health, freedom and loved ones for granted again. With this in mind, I ask you all to continue to take care, enjoy your ponies and hope to see you all back out competing and training again when the time allows.
The Council of the IPS will re-evaluate the situation at the end of August and hope, in the meantime, that everyone stays safe.
Irish Pony Society Council