The following information summarises advice from all the main riding organisations in England for the coronavirus lockdown from 5th November to 2nd December 2020, inclusive.
While the BEF, BE and BS have published the same advice, PC, BHS and BD have slightly different wording and interpretations of the Sport England guidance and the government regulations.
The BEF advice is to read all guidance and advice, and make a decision based on what you feel is appropriate for your circumstances.
Government legislation is here.
Sport England guidance is here.
Guidance from BEF, British Eventing and British Showjumping
BEF, British Eventing and British Showjumping all offer identical guidance, summarised below.
Riding Centres and Schools
May remain open and deliver formal training and education and clients are permitted to travel to take part.
Caring for Horses
You may be outside your home for veterinary treatment or advice about the health and welfare of a horse, and for the care or exercise of a horse owned or cared for by that person.
This means you may leave home to care for your horse and ride them for exercise purposes, but journeys should be as short and infrequent as possible.
Riding and Exercise
Outdoor exercise on your own or with members of your household, or one other person in a public outdoor place. It is advised riding is for exercise purposes only and ideally start and end at the yard where the horse is kept.
Hacking is allowed in public places..
No definite clarification around travelling horses to a public outdoor place for exercise, but it should be possible if done on safety and welfare grounds.
Arena at your yard may be used subject to social distancing and number restrictions. You may travel your horse a short distance to use a private arena for exercise purposes also.
The external hire of arenas, farm tracks, gallops, jumps, cross country schooling, etc not permitted..
Farriers, equine dentists and physiotherapists can continue to work.
Agricultural shops can remain open to supply feed, bedding and equipment.
Competition and Training
All competitions suspended.
Training activity can be interpreted as riding for the purpose of exercise, and is listed for one of the permitted reasons for travelling. Elite athletes to continue to train.
Coaches may continue to operate and may leave home for work where they can’t provide their services from home. Sessions should be one-to-one and there isn’t a limit on the number of sessions a coach may provide each day.
Guidance from Pony Club
Pony Club organised face-to-face activity suspended for 4 weeks in England.
You are allowed outside for exercise and to attend to the care and exercise of a pet or for veterinary services.
Essential travel only.
Stables and Riding Centres are allowed to stay open for people to attend to the care or exercise of a horse or pony.
Coaches are allowed to travel to deliver 1:1 private lessons.
Guidance from British Dressage
You can continue to exercise, including riding, either on your own, with people you live with, with your support bubble or one person from another household. Children under school age, as well as those dependent on care from their parents, do not count towards the limit of two people meeting outside. A short journey is permitted in order to exercise if necessary.
You can continue attending to and caring for your horse on welfare and veterinary grounds, if unable to make alternative arrangements..
If you are not able to work effectively from home you can continue to travel to do so. This would include coaches, who are permitted to continue to deliver one to one training for their clients on an individual basis.
Stables and riding centres continue to operate. They, and livery yards, will still need to adhere to all of the other restrictions put in place.
Guidance from British Horse Society
One to One training and lessons in a riding school can continue. Any sports coaches or trainers undertaking 1-1 sessions should ensure they are complying with relevant National Governing Body Safeguarding Policies and Procedures
You can travel your horse to use an outdoor arena to exercise and an arena can continue to be hired out providing all necessary Covid protocols and social distancing are in place.
Riding schools are not listed as businesses which are required to close in the Guidance for the National Restrictions for England.
However stables are identified as businesses that should close, however an exception allows for the care and exercise of an animal. By implication stables can remain open to care for and exercise horses.
Exercise outdoors is permitted and this includes horse riding. This can be undertaken with the people who you live with, your support bubble or one other person.
You can travel for exercise if you need to make a short journey to do so.
You are permitted to leave your home to care or exercise an animal or horse where they are not kept at home.
You can leave home to seek advice about the health or welfare of your horse including veterinary, farriery, dentistry and physiotherapy treatments, and farriery, veterinary and physiotherapy treatments can continue.
When visiting a livery yard or stables you should avoid unnecessary social contact and gathering with people who you do not live with.
You should not visit a livery yard if you have coronavirus symptoms, are awaiting a test result, if you live with anyone who is exhibiting symptoms or who has tested positive or if you have been notified to self-isolate via Track and Trace.
Reading all the available guidance allows riders and horse owners to stay within the law, minimising the spread of COVID-19 and reducing pressure on the NHS, while making the right decisions for their own mental and physical wellbeing and looking after the health and welfare of their horse.