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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

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 is working in conjuction with its 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. 

Where can I read British Equestrian's latest coronavirus update?

You can read all of British Equestrian's coronavirus updates by clicking here.

Am I able to travel to visit my horse?

On Sunday 10 May, the Prime Minister announced a relaxation of lockdown restrictions, including in regard to travel for exercise. Those caring for horses are now 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. 

For further advice about caring for your horse at this time, click here.

Am I allowed to ride my horse?

With the NHS now operating within capacity, the equestrian public can exercise their own horses, or those in their care, as they require, including hacking. This must be within any UK government guidelines, including the restrictions on travel that remain in place in Wales, where a five-mile restriction is in place. 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. 

For further advice about riding and caring for your horse at this time, click here.

Can I have a lesson with my coach?

The government’s relaxation on travel for exercise, and call to return to work where you can't do so from home, means that coaching is now permitted in some form in all of the home nations. Coaches can travel to yards for face-to-face training in controlled outdoor environments, or riders can travel to meet their coach at outdoor training venues, provided that social distancing is adhered to throughout.

  • In England and Northern Ireland, coaches can teach groups of up to five riders, although this number must also need to accomodate any persons attending for safeguarding purposes.
  • In Wales, coaching may only involve a group of up to eight people, from a maximum of two households, including the coach. Lessons should take place locally – ideally within five miles of both households, although there is some flexibility in rural areas. 
  • In Scotland, coaching must take place on a one-to-one basis and involve only members of the coach's own household or two others. Training shouldn't be delivered to more than two households at a time, and coaches should only coach a maximum of two households per day. 

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.

For more information about what coaches are permitted to do during this time, click here.

Am I able to travel my horse to a training venue?

Riders are now permitted to transport horses to a venue for coaching or facility hire. The numbers of persons and households allowed to interact at any time differs between home nations, but all have the proviso that the appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices are in place. Venues should conduct full risk assessments and ensure that the required public health, hygiene and social distancing measures are implemented effectively. We recommend contacting the venue prior to your visit because many are running a reduced service or have special measures in place to protect your safety and that of their staff. 

If you're running a training facility or riding centre, please click here to read further guidance.

Is my vet allowed to visit my horse?

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.

What is the current policy on vaccinations?

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.

Is my farrier allowed to attend to my horse?

Following the relaxation of restrictions on Sunday 10 May, the Farriers Registration Council (FRC) has urged its members to return to work, provided they following social distancing, public health and hygiene guidance. The direction and guidance accords with the key questions and tests applied by the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

Farriers have been instructed that...

  • any registered farrier showing the symptoms of coronavirus should immediately follow the NHS guidance and must not practise farriery
  • registered farriers should rigorously follow the guidance on social distancing, maintaining the 2m distance between humans while conducting farriery at all times and in all locations
  • registered farriers should regularly wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, and should clean their tools and equipment, including between consultations. Where registered farriers use personal protective equipment, including face masks, this should be disposed of in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions and otherwise responsibly
  • if challenged by the police or other law enforcement agency, registered farriers should present their registration card and draw attention to the FRC guidance. Where necessary, police officers or other law enforcement agencies should be asked to contact the Farriers Registration Council.

Further information can be found here.

My equestrian business has been financially impacted. Is there any support available for me?

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.

I'm self-employed in the equestrian sector. Is there any support available for me?

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.

Is British Equestrian still able to process equine passports during this time?

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

I have a safeguarding concern. What should I do? 

With school closures and lockdown 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 safeguarding@bef.co.uk. Further details for organisations that are available to help you are also listed here.

How do I contact British Equestrian during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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: