Singleton Dressage Club
AND JUST LIKE THAT … WE WERE BACK!
Singleton Dressage Club was one of the first clubs in NSW to run a post-COVID competition (if you could call it post-COVID) on September 13, in the midst of an ever-changing landscape.
We began planning the day when the world looked promising, then Victoria happened, then individual COVID tests caused havoc with committee meetings … we were ordered to cease community sport, then it was allowed if it was regional … out of area judges and riders were banned, then the officials weren’t! We were planning to go totally paper-free, but our Nominate representative was coming from Canberra and had to cancel or spend two weeks in quarantine to get home! It was an extremely successful time for the committee but we were determined to run the competition if at all possible and not only did we pull it off, but a number of other clubs in the area promptly announced plans to follow suit! The Hunter New England health area is now one of the luckiest in the State with three or four more competitions in the current month. Fortunately for us, the area is a far-ranging mostly rural region with lots of listed judges (even A Level), making our job easier!
And once plans were made, our competition-starved riders were quick to enter. Even with an extension to entry numbers and a quick ring around for more judges, we were still fully booked 10 days before the closing date. A record! And when the day arrived, it was like a party – everyone was smiling, everyone played by the rules and there was much cheery waving and thanks shouted out truck windows as the day ended.
Thanks to our vice-president Kellie Webster manning the gate at Singleton Showground, the obligatory COVID forms were exchanged for wristbands to show compliance and our EA-provided COVID pack was put to good use with sanitiser dotted around the ground. Some judges went penciller-free, others brought their own pencillers and for the rest, there was a one penciller per judge rule to minimise COVID risk.
We enlisted the help of our COVID-safe accredited coffee van, Lave Coffee, who helped us out by catering for the judges’ lunch in staggered times, again to ensure social distancing for our officials.
Thank you to all of our competitors for arriving, riding and promptly leaving again and for observing social distancing!! Horses certainly help with that!
There were certainly some hairy moments out there with horses feeling the effects of cancelled competitions, but also some amazing highlights with scores up to 82+%. Overwhelming was the strong sense of camaraderie from the riders who were just so grateful to finally be at a competition!!! You don’t realise quite what you have until you miss it.
We are so glad that we worked so hard to make it happen. With a bit of luck, it will get only get easier!