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British Equestrian and British Horse Society team up to ease lockdown confusion

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Horse in field wearing rug

In an attempt to clear up any confusion and ease growing frustration, British Equestrian and British Horse Society have issued a joint statement in response to lockdown regulations in England

 ​Following growing frustration over the weekend at the lack of clarity issued to equestrians, today (9 November) British Equestrian (BEF) and British Horse Society (BHS) have released a statement with the following guidance.

It begins: “We understand how frustrating and conflicting some of the advice has been regarding the legislation for the current lockdown in England. Please be assured that the British Horse Society and British Equestrian (on behalf of their Member Bodies) are continuing to work on gaining further clarity regarding and what this means for our equestrian stakeholders.

“Late on Friday afternoon Sport England relayed the information that had been provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) regarding the opening and use of equestrian facilities. However, over the weekend, we have raised concerns regarding the implication on horse welfare should riding schools be required to close. We’ve asked Defra, via the British Horse Council, to clarify with DCMS, that riding schools should remain open to maintain horse welfare, which includes care and exercise of all horses, and that this exercise may need to be supervised.”

The BEF and BHS are also seeking clarity on the following points…

  • the continuation of supervised ridden exercise of horses in a riding school setting where such exercise provides the level of care prescribed by animal welfare legislation
  • exercise, ridden or otherwise, should only be undertaken in a safe location – which is often only available on the private property where the horse or pony is kept

The statement continues: “Currently, providing Covid-19 protocols and social distancing are maintained, we know that:

  • horses may be ridden for exercise, including travelling to exercise
  • you can travel to care and exercise a horse which you own or care for
  • coaches can continue to travel to work where they can’t work from home
  • livery yards can remain open for horse owners, loaners and sharers to care for and exercise their horse
  • riding centres and schools may remain open and deliver formal education and training under the requirements of the legislation, and clients are permitted to travel to take part
  • farriery, veterinary, dentistry, physiotherapy and other equine practitioners can continue to operate

“It has been confirmed that you cannot

  • travel to a venue and pay to ride on the premises e.g. farm rides, arenas, cross-country courses, gallops etc. All venue hire should be suspended for the period of the lockdown”

All advice and guidance is subject to change as and when the government issues further details. This advice will be updated when further details are issued. Whilst this is the BEF and the BHS interpretation and advice, it’s strongly recommend that you consult with both your insurance provider and local authority to help make the right decisions for your businesses and circumstances.


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