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Advice for Horse Owners & Livery Yards in England | Covid 19 Spring 2021 Response

Please note, while the guidance is current at the point of publication, it may quickly be superseded following further government updates, or changes to the situation. Please bear with us while we make these changes.

The advice detailed below is applicable to ENGLAND only.
This advice and information is to help support horse owners and those who care for horses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Covid Update, Step 4– 19 July

The latest government announcement sees the end of most restrictions that have been imposed during the pandemic. This is great news for riding schools, livery yards, competition centres and horse owners. The BHS advice is to follow a cautious but sensible approach to the easing of restrictions and recommend the following guidance.

Covid-19 Risk Assessments
All centres are still required to carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment for all activities.

Numbers at Events
There are no restrictions on the number of participants that can take part in a competition or activity.

Spectators at Events
There are no restrictions on the number of spectators that can attend a competition or activity, unless indicated in your own risk assessment. This means that riding schools can now allow parents and spectators to watch lessons.

Recording Attendees
Centres are no longer required to record details of participants, spectators or helpers. However, all attendees should be encouraged to “check in” with the NHS QR code to assist in tracing close contact in the event of a positive case.

Enhanced Cleaning Centres
should continue with enhanced cleaning procedures and ensure hand washing/hand sanitisation stations are available.

Face Masks
Although face masks are no longer mandatory, centres should consider their use to help keep employees, volunteers and participants safe. If you have any indoor areas such as clubhouses, classrooms etc. then facemasks should be encouraged. Centres may wish to make the wearing of facemasks mandatory in specific settings as indicated in the centre risk assessment.

Social Distancing
Centres can continue to encourage social distancing, especially in an indoor setting.


Follow the NHS & Government advice

Ensure you have sufficient hand washing facilities. After using shared yard equipment, such as wheelbarrows or the hose, wash your hands. All shared equipment will need to be disinfected.

Useful websites:


Am I allowed to transport my horse?

Yes, there are no travel restrictions in place. When attending events it is likely you will need to maintain a greater distance between vehicles when parking. 

Livery/Shared Private Yards - Being Prepared

If you are ill or have to self-isolate, you should not travel to attend to your horse. Therefore, it is important for yards to have contingency plans prepared in the event that horse owners or staff won’t be able to attend the yard due to self-isolation or illness.

If horse owners are planning to go abroad, it is essential to make provisional plans in case the Government advises that self-isolation is required for those returning from specified countries or those with transit stops in specific countries. Currently there is a red, amber and green list of rules in place. Therefore, it is important horse owners ensure there is an additional 10 days care cover plan in place in case Government make changes to the list of countries with no self-isolation requirements.

It is important that everyone on the yard, complies with the social distancing rules and guidelines set by the yard manager to protect all staff and clients. It is vital that yard owners or managers and their clients continue to talk with each other and consult on any proposed changes.

  • Livery yards do not need to close to their clients, regardless of the livery package that is offered. Horse owners, loaners and sharers can still attend the yard to exercise and care for their horse. Yard owners should review their Covid-19 risk assessments.  
  • If you are struggling to pay for your livery package, speak to your yard owner at the earliest opportunity. There may be options available to change your livery package or to set up a payment plan.
  • If you have a professional attending the yard, for example a farrier or vet, ensure you notify your yard manager.

If you are a BHS Approved Centre, please contact the Approvals Team on or 02476 840509 if you need any advice.

Buddy up

Having someone to buddy up with on your yard to ensure that, in the event that should you become ill or have to self-isolate, the care of your horse is provided for. 

Check that your buddy / buddies are covered by insurance if handling or riding your horse. If they are a Gold member of the BHS, they will be covered by our public liability insurance* (*terms and conditions apply).


Write a care and emergency plan for your horse 

Having a care and emergency plan is good practice to have in place for a wide range of scenarios. For example, if you are uncontactable, and a serious decision needs to be made for your horse such as referral to an equine hospital for potential colic surgery.

Find out more and download your Covid-19 care plan

Advice for Road Users

The Government has issued travel guidance advice. This gives important considerations when traveling in all circumstances. As many horse riders are drivers, this advice is useful to know, especially when you are considering travelling with you horse.

Governments travel guidance


Your BHS membership liability insurance is valid during the Covid 19 outbreak. If you are not insured with the BHS, it is advisable to check if there are any restrictions with your insurance provider.


Keep up to date with your veterinary practice

Many veterinary practices are posting on their Facebook page and website, their practice's current policies regarding Coronavirus and visiting yards. If your horse needs a vet and you are self-isolating or ill, do not attend in order to help protect the health of their staff. Many practices may be able to bring an additional practice staff member to hold your horse if no one is available at the yard.

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has published horse health guidance videos to help support horse owners during the Covid-19 outbreak. The videos cover a wide range of subjects and are available to view here.

Individual veterinary practices and vets will complete their own risk assessments for all types of procedures. Ultimately, it is their judgement to decide if a procedure can be undertaken safely, which your vet will discuss with you. It is vital that horse owners ensure that social distancing is adhered to at all times and follow the guidance of their vet if a visit takes place. If you have a nervous or fractious horse: if they are needle-shy, for example, it is important that social distancing isn’t compromised.  To prepare your horse for procedures and help improve the safety of the handler and your vet, BEVA have produced a series of ‘Don’t break your vet!’ videos.


The BHS Helpline

The BHS Welfare Helpline is here for all our members and supporters to offer advice and support with any questions or concerns you may have. 

 Call us on 02476 840517 or email

If you are an APC please call 02476 840565 or an Approved Centre please call 02476 840509 



Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice


Please read our information and advice for horse owners and business owners during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak



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