Europe has lost two consecutive premier division Nations Cups with news that August’s Dublin Horse Show is cancelled for 2021  due to ongoing Covid uncertainty.

The Republic of Ireland’s vaccine rollout has been slower than in mainland UK. To date around 18% of the Irish population has been vaccinated. However, while infection rates are down to 6% of the peak, according to figures collated by Reuters, show organisers the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) say that in the “current circumstances it has been decided that it will not be possible to operate.”

This setback follows Hickstead’s decision to cancel its Nations Cup fixture, usually held a fortnight or so before Dublin. The option to take in these two iconic shows has, historically, been a magnet for teams from continental Europe, north America and beyond.

“Preparations for a typical Dublin Horse Show take many months of planning and organisation, and this has not been possible this year with the levels of uncertainty that still exist for the re-opening of Irish society,” says the RDS.

Instead, RDS hopes that national competitions in jumping and showing classes will take place without spectators on August 18-22. “The RDS is mindful of acting responsibly during these times and the event will only proceed on foot of Government approval, which is currently being sought.”

“Preparations for public attendance would have to start by the end of April at the latest and due to the current level of uncertainty it isn’t possible to commence these preparations with any confidence.

“Our desire to host the RDS National Championships, despite the exceptionally challenging circumstances, is motivated by our commitment to support the sport horse industry during this very difficult time.

“We would like to acknowledge and thank the ongoing support of our sponsors, who are crucial to the viability of the Dublin Horse Show, as well as the understanding of the equestrian community for whom the Show is a yearly highlight.

“We look forward to hosting the Dublin Horse Show in 2022 and welcoming tens of thousands of visitors back each day to a summer staple that people have known and loved for generations.”

Ireland’s premier show takes place on a permanent sporting, agricultural and cultural site at Ballsbridge, close to the city centre. If the revised national program goes ahead, there will be no showground stabling. Riders will have to prepare horses in their trucks, to minimise social contact.