Caring for Horses during the COVID-19 Pandemic – Updated Guidance
From 13 May 2020, the guidance from the government has been updated. The update sets out that you can:
- Take unlimited outdoor exercise with members of your household;
- Meet up or take exercise with one person maximum (from outside your household) in an outdoor setting whilst maintaining social distancing guidelines;
- If you cannot work from home, return to work.
But what does this mean for horse riders and the equestrian community?
Horse riding during COVID-19
The official guidance from the British Horse Society concerning the equestrian community in England is to resume riding. This of course must be done whilst maintaining social distancing rules and complying with the latest government guidelines.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published specific guidance in relation to horse riding which includes the following advice:
- You can ride a horse, alone with members of your own household or alone with 1 other person from another household.
- You must observe social distancing when encountering other riders/members of the public.
- You can visit riding clubs and centres to exercise. You must do this alone, with members of your household or with one
other person. You must remain two metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household.
Riding schools, equestrian centres and livery yards
From 13 May 2020, riding schools, equestrian centres, cross-country courses and livery yards can re-open. Any visits to these establishments must, however, adhere to the government’s guidance regarding social distancing and updated advice on hygiene/biosecurity in relation to sport.
Despite the above, the British Equestrian Federation has published guidance confirming that indoor areas should remain closed, as such, it is likely that any indoor arenas that are shared will not be open for people to mix. It would follow that one person could use these facilities at any one time.
Horses can now be transported to venues freely, however, if you are involved in helping to transport the horse(s), you must be from the same household.
The Farriers Registration Council has published updated guidance to owners and registered farriers. Farriers can now visit all equines, regardless of circumstances, but social distancing guidelines must be adhered to and strict hygiene rules must be maintained.
The British Equine Veterinary Association has published further guidance in respect of veterinaries and equines. Essentially,
any visits will now be reviewed in accordance with a risk assessment and will only go ahead where the risks can be sufficiently mitigated. Please see the previous guidance for vets in our blog ‘Horse Care during the Coronavirus‘.