THE ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has resulted on the cancellation of two International equestrian events in Millstreet this summer with the International Horse Show and International Horse Trials (Eventing) falling by the wayside.
Since the emergence of the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland during March, the Duggan family had constantly monitored the situation and followed guidance from the Irish government and the Health Service Executive.
“We have closely observed everything that has unfolded since the middle of March, when we had to make the decision not to stage our International Welcome Tour at Easter.
"Foremost in our minds at all times were the possible effects that the COVID-19 pandemic would have on our two main equestrian fixtures both scheduled for August 2020,” said a statement.
“While the green shoots of a return to normality are slowly starting to emerge, to invest ourselves, both financially and personally in the preparation for both events in such an unsure environment is very challenging.
"We feel that the very necessary restrictions that have been placed on the general public make events of this calibre impossible to organise and execute in a safe manner at this time.”
The announcement will come as an enormous disappointment to competitors, exhibitors, sponsors and spectators where Millstreet’s reputation as a shop window for the promotion of the Irish Horse was enhanced in a series of national showing classes acted provided an International shop window for the Irish sport horse industry at the superb Green Glens Complex.
Apart from its salute of the best of home based talent, the venue has played host to European Championships at Pony, Junior and Young Rider level across the 3 main equestrian disciplines as well as 9 FEI World Cup Show-Jumping qualifiers.
“A sporting event on the scale of Millstreet International Horse Show (August 4-9) could not take place under the current Irish Government advice.
"Furthermore, we have a civic responsibility to protect the health and safety of a wide range of people including athletes, visitors, supporters, staff and volunteers, our own immediate family and the Millstreet community at large,” said the organisers.
In more recent years, the Millstreet Horse Trials added to the status, attracting the world’s best to a picturesque post card scene under the backdrop of Clara Mountain and Drishane Castle during late August.
Its cross country circuit is considered a destination event by the best of the best boosted by traditional features and stiff technical tests.
“We would like to thank everybody for their continued support as well as those that have been in touch with us during the past few weeks.
"Our country has come together in this time of crisis, we extend our gratitude to those that have played their part in keeping everybody safe and providing essential services in recent months and we are also thinking of the families, friends and regular visitors to Millstreet that have experienced personal loss during the course of this pandemic,” said the Millstreet hosts.
“While we fully recognise that the news of the cancellations will be greeted with disappointment in many quarters, equestrian sport does not exist in a vacuum and public safety has to be our first priority.
"We very much regret these decisions but look forward to welcoming everybody back to the Green Glens Arena in 2021,” the organisers concluded.