After working from home for a while, I had to go into work yesterday to give a presentation and move some inventory around. It was my first time in the city in 5 or 6 weeks, and it was a little weird making that drive that I used to make every day but haven’t in so long. The amount of traffic was about normal, so nothing seemed particularly eerie until I got to work. Seeing everyone in face masks and having all kinds of new procedures in place was interesting. Plus the building was a ghost town, with 80-90% of the company working from home. Our company hasn’t yet put an “end plan” in place for working from home yet, and I think it will go for a least another month if not longer for most people.
But the state is letting the current stay-at-home order expire today, and in it’s place will be an order with fewer restrictions. Bars, restaurants, malls, theaters, libraries, and museums can open but with a limit of 25% capacity. They want other businesses like gyms and hair salons to open by mid-May. The new order also overrides any local mandates for required face coverings or fines if they don’t wear one. The state order encourages wearing a mask but doesn’t require it, whereas most of the local governments in the more populous areas had required face coverings a while ago and now the state order will override that. This is all really interesting considering the number of cases is still increasing and our state has done very little testing compared to most others – we’re close to last on per capita testing with only about 1% of our population having been tested. As for outdoor sports, right now they will be limited to 4 participants, with social distancing practices encouraged.
Of course, horse shows are still on hold. USEF announced an extension to their competition suspension (through at least May 31) and USEA followed suit. I think that surprised pretty much no one, there isn’t much other choice at this point given all the different state orders. During my drive yesterday I was listening to some podcasts about when/how horse shows might get rolling again and that combined with my weird day at work really brought home how, even with things starting to mobilize again, we’re still a very very very long way from “normal”. And that our new normal will look quite a bit different, probably for quite a while. It will be interesting how horse shows choose to handle things going forward, once restrictions are lifted enough to permit them.
Of course, it’s already getting hot down in Texas (we’ve hit 100 already) and we’re nearing the end of what would typically be Henry’s competition season. By mid-late May it’s already too hot for him, so horse shows won’t be happening. We’ll see about the fall season, but I’m not really holding my breath too much considering it stays hot until November. I think instead the focus will be getting Presto out and about, be it on trail rides or to small local shows just to hang out when/if they start happening again. I had no plans to show him in the Future Event Horse stuff this year anyway (which I might be second guessing right now if shows were still happening because he’s actually looking pretty good) but the fact that all of our local qualifiers have bit the dust just kind of cements that. No FEH for him.
USEA still says that they’re planning on going ahead with AEC’s, which if people still need to qualify for they’d have to do it real damn quick. It’s hard to even guess what things will be looking like by the end of August. Will there be a second wave? Will they have relaxed limitations on large gatherings? Who the heck knows. We’re in uncharted territory here. I am starting to think that none of the 5*’s are going to happen this year, although I’m still crossing my fingers for Fair Hill. I am seriously itching for some horsey travel, and we may or may not have already booked an RV site for LRK3DE 2021.
Since I was in town yesterday I stopped to grab food from a couple of my favorite restaurants to take home. That was my first time going inside anywhere aside from the grocery store, so it was bizarre to see all the guidelines and the spacers. Going to lunch is a very different experience these days. I did order one more mask too – right now I have a mask and a gaiter, but I think our office will require wearing masks for a while to come so I wanted to be able to have plenty at my disposal, as well as different options. Giving a presentation while wearing a gaiter was a new experience too.
Like everyone else, I am itching for things to start getting back to normal again. I want SO to start his job so we can order our house and start getting the current one ready to rent. I want shows to start happening so I can get Presto out to see the sights. I want the economy to start picking up so our oil and gas industry can recover and our company can make some money. I’m also just getting bored and stir-crazy. But I also don’t want everything to try to start up again too quickly and make things worse, or put people in danger. It’s a tricky thing and I don’t envy the people making decisions.
For now we’ll be keeping our distance, wearing a face mask, and waiting to see what happens next. What are you guys thinking is going to happen with horse shows this year?