All home nations are now under lockdown restrictions across the United Kingdom, with the exception of some offshore islands. Across the four countries, the message is to ‘stay at home’ and only go out for essential reasons such as work that cannot be done from home, healthcare, education and exercise. This will once again have an impact on the equestrian community, with some businesses unable to operate under the restrictions and activity limited largely to meeting care and exercise needs only.
British Equestrian Chief Executive Iain Graham commented; “While tightened restrictions aren’t the way we wanted to start the New Year, the nationwide lockdown is clearly needed to get the virus under control and protect our medical services. I call on everyone in our equestrian community to once again to play their part, adhere to the guidance and follow the message to ‘stay at home’ where possible, but of course without compromising your own or your horse’s welfare.
“We should all be vigilant, stick closely to social distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene guidance, and minimise contact where we can as we continue to act responsibly. There is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully it won’t be long before we can get back to some sense of normality with businesses and livelihoods able to get back on track, and all of us enjoying our horses to the full, but we have a few more sacrifices to make on our way there. Thank you to all of you for your continued support, patience and determination, and please stay safe.”
- Minimise time spent outside the home – it is unlawful to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
- Permitted reasons for leaving home include:
- work which cannot be done from home
- accessing education
- caring responsibilities
- health and medical requirements
- buying essential goods or services
- outdoor exercise
- attending to care and exercise of an animal or to seek veterinary help/advice.
- You may leave your home for exercise, but not for the purpose of recreation or leisure activities. This should be once a day and you should not travel outside your local area.
- You may exercise alone, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
- While the guidance states that you can travel to work where you cannot work from home, the overarching message of the lockdown is to stay at home. Coaches should read the guidance and assess whether there is a necessity to continue coaching face to face. We would advise that one-to-one instruction for clients who keep their horses on site at a coach’s home facility would be acceptable, provided COVID practices are observed. Coaches should also check with their insurance provider before undertaking any activities.
- Non-essential retail businesses and venues, including leisure and sports facilities, have been ordered to close, and equestrian arenas and riding centres are included in the list. Private facilities, such as those at your yard, can be used in order to exercise horses for their welfare where necessary. No hire of facilities is permitted and travelling horses should only be on welfare or veterinary grounds.
- Only elite training and competition may continue.
These restrictions are currently set to be reviewed on 15 February.
For further information about how these restrictions impact equestrian activity in England, please visit the Guidance for England page on our Coronavirus Hub.
- A maximum of two people from two separate households or a single household group can meet outdoors for the purpose of sport or exercise. Children under 12 from these households do not count towards the number. There should be no indoor mixing of households.
- You may take part in local outdoor recreation, sport or exercise that starts and finishes in the same place, up to five miles from the boundary of your local authority area, provided that you abide by the rules on meeting other households.
- Riding centres and equestrian venues can continue to operate within the regulations and travel restrictions, including arena hire, – provided the appropriate risk assessments and mitigation actions are in place.
- Organised sport and exercise for under-12s can continue in line with workplace and socialising guidance and sport-specific guidance agreed.
- Travel within your own LA area is permitted for outdoor sport, exercise and recreation. This provision includes travel to local facilities for the training and exercising of horses and ponies on equine care and welfare grounds. Travel exemptions apply to the attendance of a horse or pony by a vet or other equine professional.
- Coaches may continue to operate within the travel restrictions and should not deliver a session to more than one person aged 12 or over at a time. Coaches should only deliver sessions within an individual participant’s Local Authority area. Group activity for under 12s may continue with a maximum of two coaches present in any one session. Risk assessments, processes and mitigating actions must be in place before any activity takes place.
These restrictions are currently set to be reviewed on 31 January.
For further information about how these restrictions impact equestrian activity in Scotland, please visit the Guidance for Scotland page on our Coronavirus Hub.