Updated 14 April 2021
Scotland is currently operating a five-tier system across local authorities, and there are a number of government restrictions currently in place that affect the equestrian industry with ‘stay at home’ regulations in place from 5 January 2021. On this page, we've tried to compile some of the key stakeholder questions to help you understand what the current situation means for you and your horse.
You can travel to meet your horse’s welfare needs. However, you should limit the number of journeys that you make, and only undertake essential travel. Travel within your own Local Authority area is permitted for outdoor sport, exercise and recreation. This provision includes travel to local facilities for the training and exercising of horses and ponies on equine care and welfare grounds.
A maximum of four people from two separate households can meet outdoors for sport or exercise, provided they stay within their local authority boundaries (this will be increased to six from up to six households from Friday 16 April). Children under 12 do not count in this number, and those aged 12–17 years old can meet outdoors in groups of four, with no limit on household numbers.
Horses may be ridden for exercise at any outdoor facility or training venue, but you must adhere to numbers who can meet, travel restrictions and social distancing/hygiene measures. Hacking should start and finish in the same place. However, you should avoid any unnecessary travel to partake in equestrian activity, and travel no more than five miles outside of your local authority for informal activity such as hacking or facility hire.
Outdoor training facilities and indoor arenas can remain open for hire, provided that government public health and hygiene guidance is followed and appropriate risk assessments and mitigation actions are in place.
You must adhere to all travel restrictions, which means going no more than fives miles outside of your local authority boundaries (requirement removed from Friday 16 April for exercise or recreation only) and adhere to permitted numbers and hygiene measures. You should spend the minimum amount of time on-site, and no spectating may take place unless a parent is supervising a child or vulnerable adult. A face covering is required in indoor facilities when you aren’t taking part in equestrian activity. You will also be required to provide Test & Protect details to the facility’s operator.
Facilities may have additional restrictions or public health measures in place, which should be respected.
Livery yards can remain open for horse owners, loaners and sharers to care for and exercise their horse. However, the yard owner or manager may choose to put additional restrictions or health measures in place for your safety.
Farriers, vets, dentists, physiotherapists and other equine practitioners can continue to operate, provided that they have COVID protocols and risk assessments in place to maintain safe working conditions and travel exemptions are in place to ensure they can attend an animal's welfare.
Coaches may continue to operate with no limit on travel. Sessions can include up to 14 participants for those over the age of 12 years. Group activity for under 12s may take place for up to 30 participants. There is no limit to the number of sessions per day, provided appropriate measures are taken between sessions.
Before coaching, appropriate risk assessments should be carried out, and social-distancing and hygiene measures should be implemented during sessions. Coaches should also collect Test & Protect information from participants.
Competitions are permitted for up to 30 participants for u12s, or up to 15 participants including coaches for over-12s and adults. Travel restrictions apply.
The governing body for equestrian sport in Scotland, horsescotland, has produced detailed guidance that explains how COVID-19 implications for equestrians in Scotland. There is a bespoke appendix for Level Four Stay at Home Guidance which equestrians are urged to read in full in conjunction with the revised guidance, dated 5 January.