To be captain obvious, health officials have an impossible situation to deal with. On the one hand, you are forced to make widely sweeping decisions with imperfect data gleaned from about 4 months worth of experience with a new pandemic. On the other hand, you still need to address the ongoing needs of your constituents, not to mention the preservation of tax revenues which our counties and state desperately need in this downturn.

BackGate was not started as a social distancing solution. The main feature of BackGate is providing live status of the competition ring on your phone. It was started to make horse showing more convenient by ending the constant cramming inside offices, standing in lines, and crowding competition ring entrances to hear when it’s our turn to compete.

It just so happens that this convenience also naturally creates social distancing. To use the theory of laziness, who will get up off the couch to change the channel if they have a remote. This same principle drives the compliance of BackGate. Who wants to walk 1/4 of a mile from their barn up to the ring or office if they now have all that information on their phone.
One of the methods we included in our pending patent filed in 2019 was the ability to “alarm” if two competitors got too close to each other. This was partly to prevent two horses from fighting at the back gate. We now have a patent pending on social distance enforcement.

BackGate just happens to now provide a badly needed solution to a brand new problem. We certainly didn’t plan for this, but we intend to help our state and county health officials by providing an enforceable and auditable solution for a new global “code.”

USEF Requirements for COVID-19

  • Strongly encourage all competitors to complete entry forms, in their entirety, including having all requisite memberships in place, prior to entering competition office
  • BackGate allows exhibitors to sign up for horse shows from their phone, iPad, or laptop with the same interface. This means no one needs to go to the office anymore.
  • Strongly encourage that all entries, adds, scratches, feed & bedding orders, billing/invoicing are done electronically.
  • BackGate has created an app which started with the live status of the back gate but has now expanded to include add/scratches from the phone, judge’s scores, order of go connected to the back gate guy real time, horses for sale at the show, and team schedules and order of go (a trainer sees when all of her students go in one view), all in the phone. We will soon be introducing feed & bedding orders from the phone, membership confirmation, and checking out of a show from one’s phone, iPad, or laptop. We are in the process of connecting BackGate to for a seamless show management experience.
  • Utilize posted orders of go and/or published ride times including online orders of go and ride times.
  • The backGate app displays accurate, live status of a participant’s order of go, on their phone. Everything the back gate does on their iPad is seen by everyone at the show.
  • Restrict the number of people accompanying a horse to the competition area to those persons who are needed for safety or for achieving effective competition, but they all must comply with social distancing requirements
  • Each rider/trainer pair are given a live que countdown as they approach their “At Gate” status. This means that there are only the people who are about the enter the ring and no one else present at the back gate.
  • Consider utilizing technology for information transfer to mitigate the risk of virus spread by the manual transfer of paper (i.e. judge’s cards, scoresheets, etc.).
  • We have digital judge’s cards and scoresheets displayed on the phone. They can digitally assign scores and these scores are displayed instantly on everyone’s phones.
  • Add/Scratch sheets go away because we have incorporated this functionality into BackGate.
  • Create a method of giving ribbons and trophies that reduces or eliminates hand-to-hand contact.
  • We’re working on something on this. There is no reason we can’t use the same in game award systems which the big online gaming companies already use. In other words, we can distribute digital ribbons and prizes. Not perfect obviously, but it’s something…
  • Provide adequate food and beverage supplies for your barn and your support staff for the duration of the competition to avoid unnecessary community exposure.
  • BackGate is working on integrating Postmates functionality.
  • Schedule competition days (ride times, schooling times, etc.) as efficiently as possible to minimize time spent on the competition grounds each day.
  • This is a big one. Because BackGate causes rings to be run more efficiently by automatically calling up riders when it is their turn, rings stay on schedule, thus making the competition day run much smoother.
  • Prohibit the public, spectators, and non-essential personnel such as guests from being on the competition grounds until further notice. 
  • By allowing parents to watch their child compete and see the results live on their phone, they will be a little more flexible to pass on joining the trainer and child at the show.
  • Restrict competition office access to essential personnel only, configure the space and limit the number of office staff to comply with social distancing, and limit the number of participants who can enter the competition office at one time (e.g., schedule check- in/check-out times)
  • BackGate negates the need to go into the office since competitors can register, add/scratch, schedule check, etc. on their phones. Because everything is done electronically, most of the office staff can work remotely from home.

Communication – Use radio, phone and online communication methods as much as possible and communicate important information frequently throughout the competition grounds.

  • BackGate provides most of the important information that an exhibitor will need, on their phone. The back gate can see the status of the other rings within the app and this allows them to dynamically determine the status of the rider/trainer pair who are supposed to be present for their spot.
  • Strongly encourage that all entries, adds, scratches, feed & bedding orders, billing/invoicing are done electronically.
  • BackGate currently powers entries and adds/scratches on the phone and we will be coming out with feed & bedding orders in a month or so. Billing/invoicing will continue to be handled through our partner,
  • Utilize posted orders of go and/or published ride times including online orders of go and ride times.
  • BackGate’s key feature is posted orders of go and live back gate status online on the phone.