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Message to all BHS APCs' from The BHS' Chief Executive James Hick - 24/03/2020

24 Mar 2020


24 March 2020

Please note, while the guidance is current at the point of publication, it may quickly be superseded following further government updates, or changes to the situation.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

Dear Accredited Professional Coaches,

We hope that everyone is taking care of themselves and their loved ones during these unprecedented times. We fully appreciate and understand the seriousness of the current challenges faced by all our members, including our Approved Centres (ACs) and Accredited Professional Coaches (APCs), as a result of the unfolding COVID-19 public health crisis. Rest assured we are closely monitoring the situation and its implications for us all, and the wider equestrian community, as you look to us for guidance and support.

However, it is critical that we all adhere to the latest advice given by the UK Government in order to limit the spread of Coronavirus. As we have seen over the past week, and indeed overnight, this advice can change significantly every day. Therefore, we will – from now on – review and, if appropriate, update our advice around COVID-19 concerns on the BHS website following the daily briefing from the Government.

However, we will continue to update specific content around welfare advice, help and support for all members as regularly as is appropriate.

We all have a duty of care to our horses, yet we understand the challenges the new constraints on our own day to day lives present for many horse owners and those who care for them. We are listening to our members and I wanted to set out myself today our current guidance following the Prime Minister’s speech to the nation yesterday evening, 23rd March.

Horse welfare is critical and grooms or the sole carer for a horse should travel to provide care for horses. Where horses are kept in livery the BHS advises that horse owners respect the protocol put in place by the yard owner or manager and work as a team to agree a care plan for your horse(s).

There are no specific government guidelines for the question around whether we should still be out riding at present. Our strong advice is that it is not appropriate to put unnecessary pressure on the emergency services now or for the foreseeable future. It is incumbent on all of us to make an individual decision as to whether riding is necessary at all at this time. Decisions can only be taken based on individual circumstances, but our choices should always be mindful of the potential impact for ourselves and others.

Clearly, our APCs should not be teaching or coaching at this time.

Some measures have been brought in to assist those who are self-employed or work in a freelance capacity:

  • A new-style Employment and Support Allowance will be payable for people directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating according to Government advice, available from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth day
  • The standard allowance on Universal Credit will increase over the next 12 months by £1,000
  • Suspension of the minimum income floor for the self-employed, meaning they can now access Universal Credit in full at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees
  • The next self-assessment payments have been deferred to January 2021 for the self-employed
  • HMRC Time To Pay arrangements can be put in for a time-limited deferral period for payments

For both businesses and individuals, the HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need on 0800 0159 559, in addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers. Opening hours are 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday.

The BHS will update with any further government updates, we are hoping there will be more updates later this week.

The BHS Gold Membership public liability insurance remains valid during the COVID-19 outbreak unless advised otherwise.

We are continually updating our advice and guidance documents to help and support you, including Advice for Horse Owners, Information for Yards, Centres and Schools, FAQs for Business Owners and the Government Business Support FAQs. Please visit the BHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) hub for regular updates, information and guidance for all equestrians.

To keep up to date with ongoing changes to travel, social distancing and isolation: View the UK Government website.

Our BHS team of colleagues are working tirelessly to support you, our members and the wider equestrian community during these difficult times.

Stay safe and look after yourselves and your loved ones.



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


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