Further to restrictions easing in England riding schools, facility centres and livery yards may re-open from today (Wednesday, 13 May 2020) as long as they observe the current Government guidance in relation to social distancing. So what are the new guidelines?

The UK Government has amended the COVID-19 lock-down restrictions for England and has produced its COVID-19 Recovery Strategy which provides further information and guidance which includes advice on:

  • Taking unlimited outdoor exercise with members of your household.
  • Meeting up or taking exercise with one person maximum from outside your household in an outdoor setting whilst maintaining social distancing.
  • Returning to work if you cannot work from home.

The Sport & Recreation Alliance has advised that it is for individual facilities and organisations to develop their own guidance on reopening, to best fit their own situation, in line with the Government’s advice.

The BHS’ updated advice states:

  • We are encouraging our members and the wider equestrian community in England, Scotland and Wales to resume riding whilst maintaining social distancing and staying alert to control the virus.
  • You may exercise in groups of no more than two unless you are exclusively with members of your household.
  • Riding schools and freelance coaches are advised to provide lessons or coaching to individuals only, not to family groups.
  • There will be further Government guidance on hygiene and increased biosecurity for the resumption of sport which must be followed.

In a recent statement, the BEF added:

  • We continue to request that riders/drivers/vaulters consider the risk of their activity and ride/exercise where it is safe to do so and within their capabilities and fitness levels for them and their horse.
  • Those residing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should remain within the boundaries of the premises where the horses are kept, where at all possible.
  • For riders in England only, the government’s relaxation means that one-to-one training is also now permitted.
  • Coaches can travel to yards for individual face-to-face training in controlled outdoor environments, while riders can also travel to have one-to-one lessons, as long as social distancing is adhered to throughout.
  • Coaches, for both face-to-face and online training, must ensure that the necessary measures, risk assessments and safeguarding provisions are put in place, including checking insurance cover with their providers.
  • They should only ride a client’s horse where any shared clothing, tack or equipment has been appropriately disinfected and social distancing of two metres can be maintained at all times.
  • Riders are now permitted to transport horses to a venue for an individual lesson or facility hire outdoors.
  • They may meet with one other from outside their household which may be a coach or other participant, all with the proviso that the appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices are in place.
  • Those involved in travelling to or from a venue must all be from the same household.
  • Venues should conduct full risk assessments and ensure that the required public health, hygiene and social distancing measures are implemented effectively.
  • We believe that wider equestrian activity and some horse sports can adapt well to any social distancing requirements and should be in a position to get underway quickly, once conditions permit and government gives the go ahead.

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