Recently MorganShowcase contacted Kathryn Cox about her Open letter to the USEF, UPHA and AMHA on March 13, 2020, below:
Dear: USEF Network US Equestrian United Professional Horsemen’s Association American Morgan Horse Association: Sharing Carrots!
Softly suggesting the continuation of events is not enough.
(Read the letter from the President and CEO of USEF)
I’m wholeheartedly disappointed. F1 has canceled their races, IMSA canceled races, NBA, NHL AND MLB have canceled their seasons.
And the Equestrian industry is above that?
To think that the horse industry is above this disease is foolish, and I do not condone the effort.
I maintain strong ties to the Morgan community, and the horse industry. My profession is marketing and event production for events ranging from bespoke and intimate $10k pp plate dinners to filling radio city music hall. I’m a talking head to the likes of the big four consulting firms. I’m famous for saying “the show must go on,” in the heart of New York City.
This pandemic is not a joke.
We should know better about herd immunity and response. If this were ‘strangles’, we wouldn’t be showing.
…while I am currently living in the Wuhan of the US known as Seattle. Here is the reality: 60% of the population will get sick. Not if. When. I’ve been voluntarily quarantined for the last 14 days. I did a Costco run with a friend. I was exposed. And now I face another two week wait. In totality it will be 6 weeks of near isolation. I am fine, I was fine. But someone didn’t take care and that keeps me from the people and activities I love – and continues to push the date out further for everyone to get back to their normal lives.
WA state has been at it for 90 days… Our borders are shuttered. Schools are closed. Libraries are closed. Every venue of more than 250 people is banned or closed. Nursing homes are on lockdown—zero guests. With earliest predictions of reopen being considered for schools in late summer, events in the fall—at the earliest.
I would rather skip a show year and support the hardworking horse people I know look to preserve their health and welfare of their animals and customers and find recession proof revenue streams as we head into the worst economic climate in 30 years.
At the end of the day, if our trainers get sick, who is going to work our horses? The talent pool simply isn’t large enough to absorb the downtime or workload if 6 out of 10 horse trainers are in hospital beds, by the numbers. There aren’t enough man hours in the day.
Is the virus survive able? Yes.
Will it knock you out for 2-3 weeks. Yes.
Could you unwittingly pass this disease to someone without symptoms—and subsequently harm them. Yes.
Seattle didn’t react quickly. Don’t be like Seattle.
Our horses are not cars and can’t sit in stalls for half a month for a handful of ribbons for entertainment on a shortsighted playground. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Update your messaging. Regroup.
Use this time to get those sponsors that will make any show the greatest it can be in 2021.
Host a virtual show and livestream classes using videoconferencing and let everyone stay home at their farm.
Horses were first our access to farm to support our families, then to industrialize… Then they were our transportation, now they are our sport, our companions, our healers, our wild herds and lands to preserve. The horse has adapted to each ask with flying lead changes that bore them no ribbons. For this, we lead the change.
Together, let’s reinvent the way we do things to adapt to current times.
Businesses like dining in Seattle haven’t closed. They’re doing curbside delivery to help keep jobs and economy. If they can be part of the solution, so can we.
It’s our civic duty to stand united.
To stop the spread, protect our riders, trainers and supporters and come back bigger, better, stronger and healthier than ever next year.
I want to be around next year to ride with you.
We want to hear from you – how are you weathering the storm? How is your team preparing for a change in business? What ideas do you want to share with horse show committees for safer and healthier exhibition? Let us know.