If there’s one theme from 2020 that seems determined to spill over into the new year, it’s that nothing is as it was.
And it could be some time before it we get to whatever “normal” means now.
Live Oak International (LOI) is the latest event to feel the impact of the pandemic. For the first time in it’s 30 year history, the combined driving and show jumping event will take a year off in 2021.
Held at the prestigious (and private) Live Oak Stud in Ocala, FL, LOI is hosted by 17-time-USEF Four-in-Hand National Champion Chester Weber and his sister/LOI co-president, Juliet Reid.
Shared the pair in a press release:
“We have made the decision that in order to safeguard the continuity of Live Oak International in the long term, the Tournament for 2021 will not be held. This was a very emotional and difficult choice to make but we do not want to take any risks whatsoever when it comes to the health of those involved with this wonderful event.
“It is impossible to predict how the pandemic will develop over the next few months or what measures will be needed to safely host an event. We believe that making this decision early is the fairest for our sponsors, exhibitors, partners, volunteers, suppliers, and community. “
The absence of spectators figured heavily into the decision, Weber and Reid continued.
“Live Oak International is the largest spectator event in Ocala and hosting an event without spectators is not our vision. While safety and logistics are of first priority, not being able to host an event to the standard of which makes our tournament so special was also a contributing factor. Live Oak International is memorable for its large supportive crowds, vibrant atmosphere, team-spirited volunteers, and hands down incredible experience! Without these moments, the tournament would not be truly Live Oak International.”
It wasn’t in the press release, but the inability to host an epic exhibitor party in 2021 likely influenced the decision, too.
The 2020 LOI event finished just days before COVID-19 shut down equestrian sporting events around the world. The tournament is slated to return in 2022.
Until then, here’s a video of that time we got to hang out at the farm and watch Chester train. Because memories.