Life in the world of equestrian sport is going ahead despite the current Lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 virus.
That is the message from Western Cape Equestrian’s president, Sylvia Bruckner. WC Equestrian is a member of the Western Cape Provincial Sport Confederation and they have been severely disrupted by the ban on sporting activities for the Lockdown period.
But Sylvia’s message to athletes and administrators alike is to use this time positively, even though it is tough for a lot of their members as they are separated from their horses.
They had to cancel all events, even some time before the announcement of the Lockdown. Sylvia says it is really difficult for those members who are not fortunate enough to keep their horses on their properties.
It is psychologically challenging, as they are used to spending an hour or two with the horses for maybe five or six days a week. Now they cannot ride or tend to their horses.
It is also difficult for those people who make a living out of the sport, such as dentists, coaches and saddle fitters. The question about how sustainable the sport is, is keeping me awake at night, she said.
But the Federation is assisting those people who are affected financially by putting through applications for funding to the government via their national federation and in that way try to get them some relief.
Sylvia pointed out that they have 18 different codes, thus they try to put together training programs on social media platforms for officials and athletes so that they can familiarise themselves with rules and other technical aspects of the sport. Polocrosse, for instance, are during regular interviews with top high-performance athletes.
Administrators are keeping themselves busy consolidating things like constitutions and other compliance aspects they need to do at various levels, from club to district. Some people even held annual general, exco and other meetings, as the national federation gave WC Equestrian permission to have those meetings digitally provided there are no elections involved.
But trying to operate on a digital platform comes with its challenges, admits Sylvia, as lots of people do not have access to it, they are not tech-savvy enough, or they do not have the hardware or other things required.
They try to connect to those who do not have access to Zoom or Skype via cellular phone, but then it has to be a quick meeting because of the high cost of data.
Looking ahead to live resuming to normal after the Lockdown, Sylvia said that it would probably take the horses 2 to 3 weeks to get fit and ready for competition.
She said it would not be fair to those people who do not stable their horses on their property to go back to competition immediately. So, they need time to catch up on those athletes who are fortunate enough to have their horses on
their property and ride them daily still during Lockdown.
To see more from Sylvia Bruckner on Sports Federation TV, click here..