FAQs | Scotland

From commencement of Phase 1 from 29 May 2020 (These relate to the most frequent queries which have been raised)

Can coaching go ahead during Phase 1?

Limited coaching can go ahead as long as government guidelines are adhered to at all times. Coaching should be for individuals or small groups if they are from the same household (social distancing from the coach but not from each other). A coach should not provide training to more than one individual or one household per day. Travel should only be within the local area.

Can I hire out an arena?

Yes, you can hire an arena as long as government guidelines are adhered to all times. Hires should be on an individual basis, unless you are from the same household. Travel should only be within the local area. There should be sufficient time between each person/group arriving to prevent meeting in the carpark etc. Jumps can be hired but areas that are being frequently touched i.e. poles and doors should be adequately sanitised.

All riding in Scotland during phase 1 should be outside if possible.

How many people can you coach in one lesson?

In Scotland, you can coach individuals or small groups if they are from the same household (social distancing from the coach but not from each other). A coach should not provide training to more than one individual or one household per day.


Clarification on distance travelling to work freelance would be much appreciated?

If freelance coaches need to travel a reasonable distance to resume teaching they should make sure they are being reasonable in their decision making and staying local if possible.


Can jumping and XC training facilities open up again once Phase 1 commences? Or is XC too risky?

Facility hire can be done as long as government guidelines are adhered to at all times. There should be gaps between each session to prevent meeting in carpark etc. Jumps can be hired but areas that are being frequently touched i.e. poles and doors should be adequately sanitized. Venues should conduct full risk assessments and ensure that the required public health, hygiene, and social distancing measures are implemented effectively. The facility should check with their insurance provider that they have the correct cover in place.


Can riding schools take out hacks? Or is this too risky? If so how many per hack?

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 Scotland. Social distancing must be observed at all times, as should public health, hygiene and biosecurity requirements. Riding schools should keep to individual private hacks or small groups from the same household. A coach can only coach one individual or one household per day.


How can you social distance in a riding school even if 1-1 when we need to be able to do their stirrups, girths, put on hats and do safety checks. What if the rider falls off?

These issues will be addressed in you risk assessment to cover which clients you can accommodate. Details on the risk assessment are available here. The risk assessment also contains information on falls and first aid etc.


Phase 1 says can travel within 5 miles of home for exercise and should walk or cycle?

In phase 1 if you wish to transport your equine to ride elsewhere, please do this reasonably locally. If freelance coaches and riding school clients need to travel a reasonable distant to resume teaching they should make sure they are being reasonable in their decision making and staying local if possible.


Could you please clarify regarding travelling to a riding school? The government is advising in phase one to stay within your local community (broadly within 5 miles)?

You can only travel within your local area for outdoor exercise. It is only at Phase 3 where driving beyond the local area for leisure and exercise purposes is introduced.


Can you ask for horse riding to be mentioned specifically as we are not golfers or anglers? Are you lobbying the Scottish Government for this?

Horseriding was not specifically mentioned on the route map - it is impossible to mention every sector or sporting activity individually so what has been set out is in broad themes, with specific examples to help with interpretation. However, horseriding has been included in the Scottish Government advice dated the 28 May 2020 in relation to the commencement of Phase 1.


Can you please shed some light on moving forward with sales of horses and transporting them from your yard to new owners? Can I travel to try a pony out with a view to purchase?

There are many issues that require serious consideration at this current time regarding the viewing, buying and selling of horses; this includes:

  • Individual veterinary practices and vets will complete their own risk assessments for all types of procedures, including pre-purchase examinations. Ultimately, it is their judgement to decide if a procedure can be undertaken safely. Check with the veterinary practice to enquire if they are offering pre-purchase examinations. Buying a horse without a pre-purchase examination is a risk and not something the BHS would advise.
  • In normal circumstances you would ask the owner / representative to show you the horse being ridden first, before you then get on. There is always a risk of riding unknown horses and at this current time the BHS advises all riders to consider the risk of their activity and ride where it is safe to do so and within their capabilities. If two different riders were to take turns and ride the horse, and they are not in the same household, appropriate disinfection of tack and equipment should take place after each rider
  • The Government’s social distancing guidelines advises that we can only meet with one other household. This means that a potential buyer cannot bring a knowledgeable person with them for support to the viewing of the horse.
  • You are only permitted to travel short distances so this would also restrict viewing, buying and selling of horses.
  • If you are selling a horse, you must ensure that all tack and equipment has been appropriately disinfected. The above points regarding the ridden trial of the horse must also be completed. There should be no other people within the vicinity of you and the potential buyer. You won’t be able to assist riders to mount the horse, adjust their stirrups etc. as this will breach the 2 metre social distancing guidelines.
  • If you are looking for a companion horse, rehoming from a charity may be possible as they begin to rehome non-ridden horses only. A benefit is that charity horses should have been assessed by a vet as fit to be rehomed for this purpose. Further details of rehoming charities are available from the National Equine Welfare Council. When viewing and/or collecting the horse, either from a charity or private seller, social distancing must be adhered to at all times.
  • At this current time, due to the social distancing measures, many of the BHS recommendations for viewing and purchasing a horse cannot be undertaken, and therefore buyers should consider the above points and implications this may have if they proceed.

It would be highly impossible to comply with social distancing when buying or selling a horse. The only exception would be where it was necessary on welfare grounds for example if the owner has died and the horse needs to be looked after elsewhere.


When Phase 1 commences, can I travel to my livery yard which has been on lockdown?

Under Phase 1 in Scotland, you can travel locally for outdoor exercise. It would be worthwhile discussing this in advance with the yard manager. Livery yards that have been on full lockdown can now start to investigate the best way to re-open the yard to horse owners. This may include set times for when horse owners can attend the yard. It is important to maintain clear communication and consultation with owners to develop a plan. Those yards who are shielding vulnerable people living on the property may have to continue full lockdown measures. Other than this reason, the BHS strongly encourages livery yards on full lockdown to now complete risk assessments and begin to sensibly re-open to horse owners, who understandably are desperate to see their horses again.


Can we travel our horses to the beach to ride?

You can transport your horse locally in Scotland for exercise, to go for a ride, carriage drive, for training, coaching or any other purpose.

In Scotland, you are permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise, however you must stay within a short distance of your local community. You must not drive outwith your local area to ride. To note, Phase 2 also refers to local journeys for leisure purposes. In Phase 3, you can drive beyond your local area for leisure and exercise purposes.


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