Updated 14 April 2021
The current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is having significant impact on the equestrian sector. British Equestrian is closely monitoring the regular updates coming through from the Government, and we're working in conjuction with our Member Bodies and other industry bodies to feed this through to you.
The FAQs below include some of the hot topics at the moment. You'll also find further, more detailed guidance on the other pages in this section, listed on the right-hand side of the page.
You can read all of British Equestrian's coronavirus updates by clicking here.
Travelling to attend to the care of or exercise of an animal is deemed essential travel during lockdown, meaning that those caring for horses are freely permitted to travel to their yard to visit and exercise their horses as they see fit, provided that public health, social distancing and hygiene measures are observed and implemented.
Riding a horse for exercise purposes is permitted at this time, but must be carried out within any UK government guidelines, which differ between home nations. Social distancing must be observed at all times, as should public health, hygiene and biosecurity requirements.
We continue to request that riders, drivers and vaulters consider the risk of their activity, and to ride or exercise only where it is safe to do so and within their capabilities and fitness levels for themselves and their horse.
Coaching can take place in some capacity across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although restrictions on the number of participants do differ. For more information about what coaches are permitted to do during this time, please visit the guidance pages for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For both face-to-face and online training, coaches must ensure that the necessary measures, risk assessments and safeguarding provisions are put in place, including checking insurance cover with their providers. They should only ride a client’s horse where any shared clothing, tack or equipment has been appropriately disinfected and social distancing of two metres can be maintained at all times.
Outdoor training venues and facilities are permitted to open across the UK. Indoor venues are closed in Wales and Northern Ireland, and have restricted use in England. In Scotland, you must not travel more than five miles outside of your local authority for venue hire, while the other home nations encourage you to stay local where possible.
The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has issued guidance for the veterinary profession on the level of service they should be offering so horse owners can be clear on the position. Vets are being asked to assess face-to-face visits according to a flowchart, which aims to keep non-urgent visits to a minimum in order to protect the health of vets and clients. BEVA have produced a series of educational videos to help owners to 'triage' their horses and provide their vet with the essential information needed to gauge whether a face-to-face visit is necessary.
Vets are being asked to consider telephone and video consultations and, where a physical examination is necessary, the owner/handler/trainer should declare they are free from coronavirus. When arranging a visit from your visit, or taking your horse to the veterinary clinic or surgery, we recommend checking what additional measures might be in place – this might include the wearing of face coverings, restrictions on certain areas or a one-way system.
In order to maintain appropriate levels of herd immunity, the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has deemed it appropriate for vets to continue administering booster vaccinations for equine influenza at this time, provided they are able to do so safely.
All competitive disciplines under the British Equestrian umbrella currently operate a requirement for an annual booster every 12 months after an initial course of two injections and the first booster injection. This will remain the case throughout 2020, which means that any horse who goes beyond their annual renewal date will be required to start again. The initial vaccination intervals for primary and booster vaccinations will also remain in place as normal.
Further details are outlined here.
Farriers, vets, dentists, physiotherapists, grooms and other equine practitioners can continue to operate, provided that they have COVID protocols and risk assessments in place to maintain safe working conditions. If you’re an equine practitioner and unsure about what you can and can’t do during lockdown, we recommend contacting your profession’s governing body.
Further information can be found here.
We have had confirmation from the Sport and Recreation Alliance that riding schools, livery yards and competition centres fall under the umbrella of those businesses considered to be ‘for assembly and leisure’ – provided they are normally open to the public – and as such are eligible for the help currently on offer from the Government. This is in addition to Government support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. For further details about the Government cash grants and financial schemes in place that might apply to your business, click here.
In addition, there are further grant funding opportunities outlined here.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced support package for people who are self-employed, which will benefit a number of equestrian sector workers. To find out if you're eligable for the support package and what you need to do to apply, click here.
Please be aware that there are delays in processing change of addresses on non UK EU passports due to our restricted office opening hours. The situation is being reviews on a regular basis. If you require an express service, we recommend contacting a PIO from this list.
With restrictions in place across the UK, a key concern is how children, young people and adults at risk can be kept safe during this period. The responsibility for safeguarding remains a high priority, but these unprecedented times will bring some unique challenges.
The British Equestrian safeguarding team is staffed by professionals who are experienced in dealing with these concerns. We are working from home, but we are still available for advice and support, you can email us directly via firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details for organisations that are available to help you are also listed here.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we'd like to reassure you that the British Equestrian team is working from home and, for the most part, it's business as usual.
The office phone system is being directed to staff mobiles. However, there have been a few disruptions to the system so we would encourage you to contact us via email in the first instance, particularly if your enquiry isn't urgent. Below is a list of email contact information for all of our departments: