Equine update during COVID-19 lockdown number 2- riding schools, livery yards and riding
The new national lockdown for England began on 5 November 2020 and is set to last until 2 December 2020. Read on to find out a bit more about the updated guidance surrounding horses.
The government recognises that horse welfare is critical and therefore travelling to a yard to care for your horse is essential. Where possible, the BHS suggests “buddying” up with other owners to limit the people at the yard and, for yard managers, consider implementing a rota system for people to attend.
On 12 November 2020, the British Horse Society published updated guidance for riding schools in England during the second national lockdown.
The updated guidance provides that riding schools may only provide lessons if these lessons are required for formal education or professional training however no recreational lessons can be provided. For example, riding schools can continue to provide services to students undertaking their BHS exams (stages two to four) however any private one to one sessions cannot go ahead.
If you have recreational lessons booked in during lockdown now would be a good time to approach the riding school to reschedule for post lockdown and/ or get a refund.
If your horse is liveried at a riding school (you are either the loaner, owner or carer for the horse) then you are permitted to continue attending the riding school for care and exercise purposes. It will have come as a relief to many owners that the guidance for horse owners in the second lockdown was more clear.
Exercising your horse
The guidance remains relatively similar to the last lockdown although perhaps less harsh. The official guidance remains that you may continue to exercise your horse so long as you do not put added pressure on the NHS.
The advice from the BHS also confirms that you may continue to care for a horse between you (if the horse is on a part loan for example). If this is the case, you will need to take additional precautionary measures such as cleaning equipment properly and wearing gloves where possible.
You can also have private lessons with a coach under the rule that you may meet one other person outside who is not from your household. If your horse is kept at a livery yard, it is advisable to speak to the yard manager to check that they are happy for the
lesson to take place.
You cannot, under the legislation, hire a third party equestrian facility such as an arena, gallops or a cross country course. You could however travel to exercise, with your horse, in a public place. This would include a public bridleway or the beach, for example.
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