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Coronavirus restrictions extended – how will they affect horse owners?

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Horse in fly rug and fly mask

We’re over three weeks into an enforced lockdown and have at least another three to go, but exactly what do the latest government restrictions to combat coronavirus mean for horse owners?

An uninterrupted weather forecast of sunshine and soaring temperatures would, in ordinary circumstances, mean an open diary to ride, hack and compete to your heart’s content. However, these are certainly no ordinary circumstances. This afternoon (16 April), the Government has announced that the current coronavirus restrictions, as implemented from 23 March, will be extended for a further three weeks, until at least 7 May.

So, what does this mean for equestrians? While we await any further guidance, it certainly feels like business ‘as usual’ – or, we should clarify, as ‘usual’ as your newly-adopted lockdown period management routine has become.

What does this mean for horse owners?

With the restrictions neither relaxed or tightened, the guidance remains largely unchanged from the initial advice.

You must continue to stay at home unless shopping for basic necessities, participating in your one form of exercise a day, going out for urgent medical needs or travelling to work where it can’t be done from home. The Government’s equine-specific guidance states that, while adhering to the social distancing rules and being strict with personal hygiene and handwashing measures, “you may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with leaving your house to provide care for your horse or livestock. It is essential that you minimise the time spent outside of the home.”

The Royal College of Veterinary Science (RCVS) issued a new statement this week, effective from 14 April, in the form of a flowchart, giving individual practices the autonomy to act on their own initiative and balance the urgency of an appointment with prioritising public health. It’s important to note that just because veterinary treatment might sound like it’s able to be done, it’ll be down to your own vet’s personal judgement – so consult your horse’s veterinary practice for further information.

H&R is on hand to help

The Horse&Rider website is packed full with all the latest news as well as fun and educational features to help you while away the hours. Whether it’s behind the scenes access to all your favourite riders, or the latest training advice ( for inspiration to ensure you and your horse come out of this lockdown period better than ever, we’ve got you covered.

In a time where podcasts are popping up left, right and centre, why not check out the podcasts Team H&R has been tuned into lately to help pass the time? Or, have a scroll through some of our fave ways to pass the time while you’re at home?

And, if you’re not able to get to your local stockist, what better way to get your hands on your favourite magazine than with a subscription? With both print and digital options available – as well as individual copies – there’s bound to be something to suit you!

While the guidance above is correct at the time of publishing, the situation is ever evolving. We’ll endeavour to keep everyone up to date, but please follow the GOV.UK website for all the latest general advice.

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