COVID-19 update: 07/08/2020

Friday, 07 August 2020

Equestrian activity and sport continues to take positive steps towards full resumption across Great Britain, with everyone concerned working hard within directives set by governments and their representatives.


As of 3 August, coaches in Scotland may instruct as many households each day as they wish. Coaches operating in Scotland should read the guidance produced by horsescotland to ensure they are working within the regulations for their own safety, and that of their clients.

Yesterday, the eagerly awaited news came from horsescotland that outdoor, non-contact competition can resume, subject to Scottish government guidance. horsescotland has produced guidance for the resumption of equestrian competition, and it is now down to the sports to formulate their plans to implement and get competitions up-and-running.

horsescotland's guidance for the resumption of equestrian competition

Key points for competitions include:

  • For adults, ‘bubbles’ will need to be created with a maximum of five households, with each bubble containing no more than 15 people
  • Multiple 'bubbles' can be created, but 'bubbles' can’t be mixed at any point
  • There are no travel restrictions regarding open competition
  • Adults can only take part in ‘non-contact’ competition at this point in time, while under-18s can participate in both contact and non-contact sports. Adult contact sports is expected to resume from 24 August, pending approval
  • Organised outdoor competitions must take place behind closed doors – no spectators
  • Only competitors and essential competition personnel may be in attendance
  • No family members may be on site (except for parents or guardians of children or vulnerable adults)  
  • A register of all attendees should be maintained by organisers
  • Travel to and from competition must not mix households

Member bodies, venues and organisers are now working on their own protocols to implement so that sport can resume safely and with minimal risk of spreading the virus.

horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull commented: “We have worked continuously with our Member Bodies, discipline Chairs and Reps, officials, venues and organisers, and we are all in agreement that this is a much needed, and most helpful, move forward.  All disciplines are now working hard to implement the guidance to meet their individual competitive environments and I urge you, at all times, to work with, not against, what is being done.  No doubt, there will be challenges ahead across the sporting landscape to allow competition to resume in a practical manner, but public health and safety must always be to the fore.  I urge everyone to please support us, and others, by being part of a proactive Scottish equestrian community.”


The First Minister for Wales announced on 31 July that indoor sport facilities could open on Monday 11 August, provided protective measures are implemented, including social distancing and risk assessments. The advice from the Welsh Sports Association is that facilities with covered/indoor arenas in Wales should check with their insurance provider and Local Authority before commencing activity. This covers general activity and competitions but with numbers of no more than 30 at any time.

Showing Council

The Showing Council recently released its updated Blueprint for the Resumption of Showing, which was originally drafted from guidelines by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Events Industry. The update’s main focus is to allow for greater numbers, where possible, to compete in showing classes, and this document has been progressed in consultation with British Equestrian and Sport England.

A working party of Council Members, together with Paul Hooper OBE, ASAO Secretary, drafted the original document, which has now updated, in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing. A copy of the blueprint is available by request, please see the ‘common policies’ section of the Showing Council website.

Showing Council Chairman, David Ingle, said “I am very proud of the work done by the working party and The Council, it shows what can be achieved when organisations pull together and show a united front. The Showing Council has always worked hard for the good of showing and this process has made it more visible.”

Mounted games and polocrosse

As announced on 30 July, resumption plans covering the team sports of mounted games and polocrosse have been approved by the DCMS. Based on the DCMS Return to Recreational Sport Framework, which contain guidance designed to minimise the transmission risk of COVID-19 (coronavirus) during team sports and to enable participants to make informed decisions about their own risk, the guidance was worked on by the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain, the United Kingdom Polocrosse Association and The Pony Club, in conjunction with British Equestrian, to produce bespoke action plans and risk assessments for mounted games and polocrosse.

A Return to Equestrian Team Sports Action Plan has also been produced by British Equestrian and relevant member bodies, which details a standard approach to the management of events in England, including team training sessions and competitions, for equestrian team sports. This action plan will sit alongside DCMS’s Return to Recreational Sport Framework, which must also be implemented by organisers, and government social distancing guidelines.

An application for horseball to resume, compiled by British Equestrian and The British Horseball Association, is currently in production.

The Return to Equestrian Team Sports Action Plan, and the sport-specific action plans and risk assessments are available here.