With other European countries in lockdown, and a variety of reports that Brits are not respecting the call to practice social distancing, it is an understanding concern that the UK could be heading in the same direction. But what would a lockdown mean for horse owners?
In reality, there’s no way of knowing what the UK’s lockdown policy would be, but it is likely that it will follow the example of other European Countries.
In France and Spain – both of which are on lockdown – leaving the house is permitted only with printed documentation stating a valid reason for travel.
Such reasons include food shopping and visiting the doctors. The form can be downloaded online or sent via post and must be filled out for each journey away from the home.
There are fines in place for those who travel without a valid reason, or travel without a form.
In France, trips outside the home to exercise are still allowed, however in Spain this is banned. If you have a dog though, you are allowed to walk it. With regards to animals it comes down to an issue of welfare.
Equine charity World Horse Welfare shared the following advice: “A lockdown will not mean all farm animals and livestock will be abandoned. Despite its name lockdown does not mean you cannot leave your home, providing you have a valid reason to do so.
“Tending to animals would very likely be considered a valid reason. It may be that provided you practice good social isolating you may be able to ride your horse. Confirmation of this will come with the details of any lockdown in the UK.”
So, while it is possible that riding may be restricted, you will still be able to go to check on your horse and provide its necessary care, if there is no one else who can do so.
However, France have prohibited riding not because of social distancing concerns, but due to the fact that if you had an accident you would be taking vital services away from already stretched medical services looking after coronavirus patients.
It could be that a similar measure will be put in place in the UK, but we’ll have to wait until and if a lockdown occurs to know the precise rules that will be introduced.
The British Horse Society (BHS) have created a hub dedicated to the Corvid-19 outbreak, sharing advice for horse owners, yards and business owners.
“Recreational riding for those who own, share or loan a horse is still deemed an appropriate form of exercise and is not affected by the latest Government advice,” it states in the BHS’ latest advice.
The hub will be updated regularly as the situation continues to evolve.
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