The Royal Dublin Society (RDS), organisers of the world-famous Dublin Horse Show, which was due to be held in July of this year, have announced that it will not now take place because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement today the RDS said: “We have made a decision that the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Dublin Horse Show will not take place due to public health concerns linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 147th Dublin Horse Show will instead be staged in 2021.

“Our primary concerns in taking this decision have been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make the Show the unique event that it is. We were also very mindful of our responsibilities in contributing to the wider effort in controlling the virus in Ireland.”

The RDS has issued a press statement to outline its reasoning in taking this significant step. 

It says: “ Since the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in January, the Society has constantly monitored the situation and followed guidance from the Irish Government and the Health Service Executive.

“The health and safety of all of those who come together for the Horse Show has been a priority for the RDS in making this decision. This includes visitors from Ireland and from around the world, competitors, volunteers, trade exhibitors, RDS Members, staff, partners, contractors and suppliers. The RDS responsibility to contribute to the national effort in controlling the virus in Ireland was an important factor in this decision.

“The scale of the Show necessitates preparations beginning months in advance, with horses in training around Ireland for the many national competitions held as part of the Show. Qualifiers scheduled to begin this month are unable to proceed this year in the current circumstances. In addition, the RDS begins its on-site preparations many months in advance of the five-day Show which attracts over 100,000 visitors.

“The decision by the RDS to cancel the 2020 Horse Show followed detailed deliberation of all these factors. The importance of the Show to the sport horse industry was also part of the considerations. The decision reached was that cancellation of this year’s Show was in the best interests of public health and safety and that providing certainty at this early stage would be beneficial to everyone involved, from the visiting public, to the sport horse industry, to key partners of the Show.

“All tickets purchased by phone or online will be automatically refunded by Ticketmaster. Ticketholders are asked to allow 7-10 working days for the funds to appear in their account. For tickets purchased through an outlet customers are asked to return to the point of sale, ( & for instance).”

Chief Executive of the RDS, Michael Duffy, said: “The RDS did not come to this decision lightly and only after detailed considerations of all the factors involved. However, we believe it is the most responsible decision we can make in the best interests of public health and safety. We understand that this will disappoint many members of the public and that it will have implications for many horse breeders and producers around the country. However, we trust that everyone will understand and support a decision made in the national interest. It is incumbent on all of us to do everything we can to support the measures introduced by the Government”.

RDS CEO Michael Duffy

Commenting on the certainty this decision provides he continued: “The Horse Show is a very important part of the sport horse industry and we understand the effects this decision will have on the industry and the community. But certainty is also crucial for breeders and producers, as well as our partners and sponsors who support the Show every year. Trade exhibitors are also an important part of the Horse Show’s appeal each year and they too will appreciate the clarity.”

‘’We are in discussion with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in relation to the dates for the 2021 Horse Show and we will announce these dates when they are confirmed to us.’’

The Show holds a unique place in the Dublin’s summer calendar and the RDS looks forward to 2021 when we will welcome back tens of thousands of visitors to the 147th Show.

In the past, the Show was cancelled in 1914-1918, and also in 1940 due to the Second World War. It continued with national show jumping competitions only during the period 1941-1945. Swamp fever cancelled the competition for the Aga Khan trophy in 1966, but the remainder of Show proceeded as normal.

-Jack Burns