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Advice for horse owners in Scotland during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

Please note, while the guidance is current at the point of publication, it may quickly be superseded following further government updates, or changes to the situation.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

Summary of current Guidelines in Scotland

Phase 3 Staying safe and protecting others - 02 September

Phase 3 Equestrian Guidance for Scotland (pdf) - 26 August

Horse Riding in Scotland Infograph (pdf) - 26 August


Update September 10:

From the 14 September 2020, revised social gathering rules of 6 people from up to 2 households can meet socially (under 12s from the 2 households are not counted within this limit). This applies in all locations – for example at home, in hospitality or outdoors in a park or garden. Limited exemptions apply.

Meeting others: indoors and outdoors

You are advised to meet people from no more than 1 other household at a time indoors or outdoors. You should stay at least 2 metres apart from people from other households at all times.

The changes to meeting socially do not apply to services or activities that are already exempt from these restrictions and have been permitted to open subject to their own guidance such as organised sport.

Therefore this does not impact on the current coaching rules – coaches can work with groups of up to thirty participants, if there is sufficient space to maintain physical distancing.

When participating in training or coaching, where possible, avoid touching surfaces and sharing equipment and touching your mouth and face.

Protect Scotland App Launches:

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged smartphone users across Scotland to download NHS Scotland’s new contact tracing app to help suppress the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website, the app is an extra tool complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system. Individuals privacy will be protected as the app uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and advises them to self-isolate. Users of the app who test positive will still get a call from a contact tracer to confirm their details and who they have been in close contact with.

For more information on the Protect Scotland app visit

Update September 1:

Since Monday August 31 Scottish Government has confirmed that indoor spaces can be used for activity.

When opening indoor facilities please refer to the sportscotland guidance on getting facilities fit for sport which can be found here.

Further info on opening facilities can be found via CIBSE (chartered institution of building service engineers).

Finally a reminder that facilities should have a dedicated COVID Officer, an e-learning support for the role can be accessed here.

Car sharing/giving lifts

You should only travel with members of your own, or extended, household. There may be occasions when there is no alternative but to travel with people not in your household. If this is the case you should:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups
  • keep car windows open if possible
  • ask everyone to wear face coverings
  • wash hands before and after the journey
  • clean car door handles and other areas that people touch

From 24 August coaches re permitted to work with groups of up to 30 people outdoors, subject to sportscotland guidance


Personal training/coaching

Coaching can now take place in sessions of up to 30 people outdoors and indoors (since August 31) multiple sessions can take place as long as the groups don't mix.

Regional restrictions may be in place therefore the BHS recommends each you seek local guidance as these restrictions would need to be adhered to. 



Organised non-contact sports competition can now take place outside or within a covered arena subject to Scottish Government Guidance.

All sports Governing Bodies/organisations/venue operators providing such competitions must have a named ‘Covid Officer’ who will complete documented risk assessments and ensure all appropriate mitigations are put in place by the sports organisation/venue operator before any outdoor competition or event is undertaken. A template job description for a ‘Covid Officer’ can be found on the sportscotland website

Competition Bubbles have now increased to up to 30 people outdoors, although again these bubbles cannot mix.


FACTS Scotland 


Planning to go abroad?

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. Therefore, it is important horse owners ensure there is an additional 14 days care cover plan in place in case Government announcements are made, for example the self-isolation requirement announced for those returning from Spain.


If you do choose to take your horse to another locality please bear in mind the two most important things are staying safe and showing respect.

Look after the places you visit and be mindful of your impact on local communities. Take your litter home, remove dung in car parks and kick it to the side on paths and tracks. Plan ahead and check your intended parking is open and has space, as the countryside is much busier than normal. Park with consideration and if it looks too busy it is too busy - support the new BHS Scotland campaign for hacking out this summer; “Leave no trace- leave space” be an ambassador for responsible horsemanship.


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



The Coronavirus crisis is far from over. We have been able to make a difference, but there are so many more horses that need our support. Even with the lockdown easing, our riding schools are still struggling to pay the bills.

Text HORSE to 70507 to give £5, or you can donate online here.

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