Dear IALHA Members:
Even before last year’s show concluded, the IALHA Board of Directors and Show Committee have been enthusiastically working to organize the 2020 National Championships. Feedback from exhibitors was incorporated into the planning, new divisions were added, and it was on track to be an amazing event.
After lengthy discussion a couple months ago, the show committee decided to move forward with plans for the show. At that point in time, improving conditions around the nation led us to believe that the situation would be better controlled by November and allow for a safe event. Underwriters were sought and a number of generous donors answered our call for show patrons. Their support is truly appreciated.
However, several developments in the last two weeks have given us pause and necessitated crucial conversations.
As you know, rather than continuing to improve as anticipated, conditions have instead begun to decline in many areas of the nation. Most of the hurdles this presents to our show are surmountable. All but two.
First, new COVID-19 “hot spots” have developed, including the regions where our judges reside, and counties surrounding the show venue. This will significantly complicate travel and lodging for exhibitors, show staff, and judges, forcing some to quarantine after returning home. In fact, one of our judges recently notified our show manager that they will be withdrawing as a result. Another judge is on the fence, and show staff have begun to express concern.
The second obstacle is liability. We had hoped that this would be addressed through legislation, but it appears that events or businesses like ours will not be covered entities. Expert legal opinions from two separate sources describe this as a risk the IALHA cannot withstand. The legal representation required to defend us from even a baseless suit would deplete us financially. The board of directors feels that the association and registry cannot be put in jeopardy by the show in this way.
Given these insurmountable challenges, it is with sincere regret that we must announce the cancellation of the 2020 National Show.
Please know that this has been an exceptionally difficult and emotional decision. We are saddened that conditions have forced this outcome, particularly after it appeared as though we would be successful just a short time ago.
We are painfully aware that this is disappointing news to many and may negatively impact those whose livelihoods are tied to our industry and breed. Please know that the decision was not made lightly and is entirely in an effort to maintain the well-being of our members, staff, exhibitors, and ultimately the IALHA.
We have contacted our show patrons and show staff to notify them. We appreciate your understanding and support, and look forward to returning to the Will Rogers Memorial Center in 2021. Dates will be announced as soon as possible. Until then, we sincerely hope that your horses provide you with enjoyment during these uncertain times, and that you each emerge from this pandemic rested, resilient, and ready for a great show season next year.
Wishing you all the best,