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What to Expect at this Year’s Redbud Spectaular

Getting back to showing horses in the midst of a global pandemic was feeling like a distant reality for a while there.  But, with a lot of planning and the strict guidelines of health officials, the 22nd annual Redbud Spectacular will go on this week as planned…with a few changes.

There is now clarity for the safe approach of our much-beloved horse shows. The Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association is one of the first to host a large event such as the Redbud during COVID-19. Equestrians are excited, but also have some underlying questions about the safety precautions that will be taken.

Amateur exhibitor and horse show mother, Amy Smith says, “This is my first time attending the Redbud. I am personally not showing, but my daughter, Paige is showing her mare. This is her last year in 13 and under, so we really wanted to hit some shows before the Youth World.”

Smith, whose family stands the stallion, Iron Enterprise, in Hampstead, North Carolina adds, “My whole view on it is to be cautious. We have been trying to be thoughtful about being safe for us and other people. I think it is a safe sport for this time. We’re bringing Lysol wipes with us and hand sanitizer. Also, we do have masks, and, of course, we will be washing our hands often.”

Vice President of OQHA, Leonard Berryhill, states, “I am very positive this is going to work out. I hope the way the Redbud is run will set an example for other associations and shows. As long as the exhibitors will be cooperative, then it will work out just fine.”

GoHorseShow spoke with Jackie Krshka, the Redbud Spectacular Show Coordinator, about how she developed the necessary methods of keeping people safe.

Jackie Krshka

Q: How will the Redbud Spectacular be running differently this year?
A: There are a lot of differences because of safety protocols. Social distancing is required. Although, if you have your own social group (ex. a trainer and students at the same barn), clearly, the six-foot rule will be a little less strict. From stable-to-stable, I tried to put a 10-foot stall between them. Also, it will not be open to the public.

Q: How will the arenas be managed as far as the number of people in a space at one time?
A: There can be two horse/rider per every 1,000 square feet. For example, the Super Barn Arena will be able to hold 44 people at a time. There will not be normal gatherings at the back gate; people will have to go to the stands to watch. For seating, every other aisleway will be blocked off with two seats being vacant between each person watching. It will just be the horse and rider, besides the small fry, in the holding area. We will let an adult accompany the younger riders for safety purposes. We have room to accommodate everybody if they will just be mindful of it.

Q: What was the process of preparing for the event?
A: We have been working for six weeks on this. There have been meetings between State Fair Park, city officials, and CDC officials. So, before we were granted permission, there were a lot of steps to go through.

Q: What is the sanitation method that will be in place?
A: The State Fair Park cleaning crew will be cleaning the bathrooms hourly and will be sanitizing commonly used areas such as railings and door handles. We are going to try, for the most part, to leave doors open so they do not have to be handled. Above every water hydrant, there will be sanitizer dispensers.

Q: What do the participation numbers look like in comparison to previous years?
A: We are up around 25%.

Q: Do you have any worries about hosting a show in the middle of a pandemic?
A: I am just a realist; the virus is out there. Whether it is at a horse show or everyday life, social distancing has been the number one thing that they are emphasizing. Honestly, in working through this for many weeks, if I did not feel that we could pull this off safely for our exhibitors, we would not be having the show.

Q: How will the new rules be enforced?
A: OQHA is going to have delegated monitors walking all day long through the barns, through the practice arenas to make sure protocols are followed.

Q: How will staff members take precautions?
A: Our staff members are going to be tested every day. If one of them has a temperature above 99.5, they will leave the grounds immediately. We are only allowing four people in the office at one time. There will also be plastic barriers at the desks. If a participant wants to add or scratch a class, they will have a phone number to send a text to instead them having a card to give to the gait person.

Q: What advice do you have for people who will be attending the show?
A: The most important thing is that you are here because you love to do this. Keep safety at the top of your mind and have patience. Let’s all work hard to set a standard for everyone.

OQHA is going to great lengths to assure that safeguards are in place to keep their competitor’s well being their number one priority. If you are attending the Redbud Spectacular, do your part to follow the instructions of CDC guidelines and the show staff’s regulations to ensure a safe environment. Get out in the show ring and have fun while social distancing.