Purpose of the document is to understand the challenges faced in operating mounted games competitions and training in 2021. We have a duty of care not just to our members but to our members families and wider society, that we have all required protocols in place so that hosting a mounted games competition will not be a source of spreading the Covid 19 virus.
This document is a reference point for Mounted Games (MGAI) and its local areas for all the relevant actions required to safely run all registered shows or training. The document contains protocols which must be undertaken by MGAI Ireland for activities held behind closed doors to prevent the spread of Covid-19. These protocols have been developed by Horse Sport Ireland with the aim of safeguarding everyone’s health and wellbeing during the current public health situation and to ensure that Horse Sport can continue in a safe and appropriate manner. As we’re all aware, guidelines could change rapidly and it’s important that all members stay up to date and abide by Government and HSI protocols.
A key risk in Mounted Games is equipment transfer and the potential of equipment becoming a source of transmission.
This document will evolve and should be considered as a ‘living and breathing ‘ document as Government and HSE guidelines are updated.
2. Practical Preparation for an Event/Show or Training
The current Horse Sport Ireland requirements for planning any show or training event are as follows:
- A Covid-19 Compliance Officer for the day must be nominated
- A risk assessment form must be completed in advance, with a declaration to be signed by the MGAI Secretary or Chairman and the Area Rep in the case of Local area events that these Covid-19 protocols within this document will be strictly adhered to, and that any departure from this will result in the non-approval of future events.
Covid-19 Compliance Officer
For each Show or Training Event, MGAI must nominate a Covid-19 Compliance Officer for the day who must be present, all Officials present on the day must be aware of who that person is. This person should be familiar with the protocols laid out in this document. This person will be responsible for ensuring:
- Signage is in place
- Hand sanitiser is in place
- Cleaning products and disposable cloths/paper towel are on hand
- Proactively observe the event to ensure that protocols are being observed
- Step in to remind attendees if protocols are not being observed
Times should aim to facilitate the minimum time on-site for each attendee
All entries must be paid online in advance – no cash to be handled on the day. All entries will be handled by the Its Plain Sailing application which will include Self-declaration Health Screening. The health self-declaration questions should include the following:
1. Do you have symptoms of cough, fever, high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, breathlessness or flu like symptoms now or in the past 14 days? Yes/No
2. Have you been diagnosed with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection in the last 14 days? Yes/No
3. Are you a close contact of a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days (i.e. less than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes accumulative in 1 day)? Yes/No
4. Have you been advised by a doctor to self-isolate at this time? Yes/No
5. Have you been sent for a Covid-19 test in the past 14 days? Yes/No
6. Have you travelled outside Ireland in the past 14 days? If so you must self-isolate for 14 days before attending any event. Yes/No
7. Are you in a ‘high-risk’ category for Covid-19? Yes/No If you have answered ‘Yes’ to question 7 above, Please be familiar with the latest Government advice: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/people-at-higher-risk.html
Finally, there must be a clear declaration before completing the entry to ensure the attendee is aware: Declaration By submitting this form, I confirm that the information I have provided is correct and accurate. I will adhere to the MGAI COVID-19 protocols. I agree that this information will be shared with the HSE/HSC if required.
If anyone answers ‘Yes’ to any question from 1-6, they must be contacted and advised that they cannot attend. Likewise, if someone indicates they do not consent to the temperature check on arrival, they must be advised they cannot attend.
A csv / Excel file can be downloaded which contains the detail of the responses, in a printable list format so it can be used at the gate to check off arrivals. The list should first be reviewed to ensure that the riders’ names on it correspond with the entries received and that no more than one Groom/Arena Party per rider is named. Check also the officials and volunteers are correct.
- Must be briefed on these protocols
- Must wear mask at all times
- Must keep physical distance of minimum 2 metres at all times
- Clipboards to be cleaned in advance of use and after each person handles them
- Cleaning products + disposable paper towel to be available
- Any hard surfaces should be cleaned in advance and regularly during the day.
Judges + Scorers
- If not from the same household, the Judge and Scorers must be in separate vehicles side by side.
Arrival at the Show / Training
- Must be at least one Official at the gate with the list of confirmed attendees
- As each vehicle arrives, they must stop and confirm the names of the people in the vehicle to the official, who checks them off the list. Anyone not on the list is not permitted to proceed and must leave. Only MGAI members are permitted entry.
General Protocols for All Attendees on Site
1. Face masks/Face coverings are mandatory for all attendees at equestrian events. Exception for riders when mounted
2. Do not come to a sport horse equestrian event if you have symptoms of cough, cold, temperature or shortness of breath
3. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE whether you are wearing gloves or not. THIS IS CRITICAL
4. WASH YOUR HANDS as frequently as you can
5. OBSERVE THE ADVISED COUGH/TISSUE ETIQUETTE at all times
6. Avoid going into areas at the venue unrelated to your activity
7. Leave immediately after your competition
8. Do not enter the vehicle of any other attendee you have not travelled with or who is not part of your household
9. If you become unwell, go immediately to your car and phone your GP for expert advice
10. If you are over 70 years of age, you are permitted to attend subject to health screening, however if you have any underlying medical conditions placing you at high risk please do not attend -please visit https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/at-risk-groups.html
- Social Distancing advice continues.
Keeping a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people
Not shake hands or make close contact with other people
Good hygiene and hand washing advice continues
Wash your hands properly and often.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Do not share objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles, cups.
3. Event/Training Risk Mitigation List
- Only outdoor venues will be used.
- Family Units travel together to events with no sharing of lorries/jeeps/ponies outside of the family group.
- Entry to games events is restricted to MGA members only including arena party.
- All entrants will be contacted 24 hours before arrival reminding them of conditions of entry.
- Lorries and Jeeps/Cars must be parked at least 5 metres apart to facilitate loading/unloading. No tacking up on the side of neighbours door.
- Arena Party members (limited to 2 crew per rider/pair/team) stay at all times 2 metres apart.
- Arena party equipment is colour coded and is laid out for each team at side of the arena 2 metres apart. Ideally equipment boxes should be marked out on the ground and allocate enough space to ensure social distancing between arena party members.
- Equipment is colour coded per team/pair/individual and each team/pair/individual own arena party is responsible for the placing, collection and handout of the allocated colour code for that heat. NO arena party member should touch any other teams/pairs/individual equipment under any circumstances MGAI to issue socks for initial trial individuals competition.MGAI to replace socks with rubber balls which can be sanitised more easily
- Equipment is washed/bleached before competition starts and at the end of each heat. Equipment will be sanitised using a 0.1% Chlorus (Sodium hypochlorite) solution for a minimum of 1 min contact time before competition starts and at the end of each heat (Based on WHO disinfection guidelines available at https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/332096). This is made up by diluting 10mL of 10% Chlorus to 1 L water. Games equipment that has been stored for a minimum of 10 days without contact will also be deemed safe.
- Unloading trailer & allocating equipment / reloading trailer should be allocated to one nominated person who puts on disposable gloves specifically for the task who hands/collect colour coded equipment to nominated arena party.
- Separate Sanitiser equipment/materials to be provided for each Arena party members at separated equipment area by rider at side of arena as per point 8 above. Arena party must clean/sanitise hands at the end of each race. This is to address the concern of fixing poles for each race as riders will move from one lane to another, poles could be touched by multiple arena party members. We need to be of the mindset that potentially any surface is a potential contaminant. Disposable gloves are optional but if used to be disposed of at the end of each heat.
- Separate Sanitiser equipment/materials to be provided for each rider/pair combination behind the start line. Hands to be sanitized between each race in a colour coded sanitiser area. Between each race riders and ponies to implement social distancing. Disposable gloves are optional but if used to be disposed of at end of each heat
- If a rider places any piece of equipment on his/her mouth, automatic elimination and equipment must be disinfected.
- Box to be provided at rider sanitising station with equipment the rider needs at the start line for that race. They will also return equipment to that box.
- Riders have to stay 2 metres apart in call up locations.
- Riders should not engage in warm-ups within games arena until lanes allocated.
- Judge and Scorer cannot share the same Lorry or Car unless from the same household. If weather conditions force sharing of Lorry and social distancing is not possible, then face masks are mandatory
- Social Distancing means no visiting other lorries.
- No sharing of water bottles.
- No offering/sharing of cups for tea/coffee etc.
- No Marquees or indoor venues can be used for draws/catering which break social distancing guidelines.
- Lorry parties will not be tolerated as this will be in breach of the government Covid regulations.
- The government rules apply to us all, so only a maximum of 6 people from 3 households can congregate indoors(excluding Lorries) together, and only 15 people outside. Any breaches of these laws could result in disqualification for the riders involved.
- Toilets- portaloos will not be provided at 1 day events. Participants should have their own facilities in their truck / trailer and not share lorry toilet facilities. For overnight events, where temporary toilets are provided, it is suggested that a sanitiser station is located near the toilets and good personal hygiene practices the responsibility of all users
- Camping: All tents to be at least 2 metres apart
- Social distancing rules(presently 2 metres) apply at all times during competition including overnight
- If outside catering is on site, vendors should be encouraged to provide cashless payment facilities with clearly defined 2-metre markings on ground for patrons to enforce social distancing when purchasing.
4. Revised Fall Protocols
- Person first to scene.
- Assess findings from social distance and record findings.
- Summon help first aider and / or parent to scene.
- First aider should assess the situation and where possible work from a social distance.
- The First Aider must have access to the appropriate PPE i.e. gloves, mask, goggles.
- If the faller requires further medical attention at Accident and Emergency, an ambulance should be called or the parent should transport the member. depending on the situation which should be assessed by the First Aider and Health and Safety Officer.
- The Health and Safety officer should attend the site of the fall and record all of the details of the accident or incident for the Accident Report Form and Incident Log.