You are here: Home > Our Charity > Latest News > Advice for all BHS Centres | Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Advice for all BHS Centres | Coronavirus (Covid-19)

2 Sept 2020


Updated 02/09/2020

Please note, while the guidance is current at the point of publication, it may quickly be superseded following further government updates, or changes to the situation.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 make these changes. Regional restrictions may also be in place in your area, the BHS recommends you seek local advice as these restrictions would need to be adhered to. 

1. What level of activity can take place at my centre?

Activity level Guidance summaries for each of the UK nations. Please see full guidelines by clicking on the relevant country. Please also see the downloadable resources for risk assessment considerations.

Updated Advice for Centres in England - click here

  • Horse riding/driving and lessons/coaching of groups who do not share a household can take place as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
  • Determine ‘zone’ areas within your location and ensure no group size or gathering would simultaneously exceed 30 people. 
  • From 25 July, indoor sports facilities may open. This means mechanical horses can be used from this date as well as other ‘off horse’ activities in an enclosed space such as Pilates.
  • Where a riding school in England can genuinely demonstrate that they operate within the guidance of an Out Of School Setting (OOSS) group sizes for activities for children aged under 18 can increase to 15 providing the Government guidance for protective measures for OOSS is followed. Working collaboratively with the BEF and Sport England, the BHS has received confirmation that the requirements for OOSS extend to riding schools. Further BHS guidance is available.


Updated Advice for Scotland - click here

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

Updated Advice for Wales - click here

  • Lessons can resume in outdoor and covered/indoor arenas; however, the BHS recommends centres contact their local authority and insurer in advance before resuming activities.
  • Group treks, hacks, fun rides may also restart (following the rules of 30 people)
  • Organised team sports can resume on 13 July 2020 allowing up to 30 people to take part
  • Social distancing guidelines apply for anyone aged 11 years and upwards (2m for Wales).

Updated Advice for the Republic of Ireland - click here

  • Regional restrictions are in place – seek guidance for your area
  • Until 13th September restrictions are in place after an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country. 
  • Groups in outdoor settings should be limited to 15 people. 

Updated Advice for Northern Ireland - click here

  • The resumption of horse racing and outdoor equestrian competitions and outdoor competitive games and sporting events from July 11 for grassroots and professional sport but with no spectators allowed.
  • The reopening of indoor sport and leisure facilities, including skating rinks and leisure centres on July 17, but excluding swimming pools.


2. How can I keep up to date on government and NHS advice regarding Covid-19? Should I encourage my clients and staff to do the same?

3. What working hygiene practices for disease prevention should I be putting in place?

Follow Government advice regarding social distancing and maintain recommended hygiene practices. Consider the following:

  • Ensuring sufficient access to hand washing facilities and additional provision of hand sanitiser at key location points
  • Nominating a ‘COVID-19 Officer’ who is responsible for updating the risk assessment and implementing key changes to practices
  • Having provision for increased frequency of cleaning routines to key contact points.
  • See links above and our ‘Risk Assessment’ page for further details

4. Should I still ensure that any contingency plans are kept current and include consideration of the following areas:

Contingency plans should be kept up to date in the event you (the proprietor) or staff/clients/liveries test positive for Covid-19 or need to self-isolate. Consider the following:



a) How will you manage continuity with staffing levels to ensure your current working practices can continue?

  • Can you access temporary staffing cover, such as freelance grooms or coaches should any member of staff not be able to work due to self-isolation – for riding schools, would lessons continue, where re-started, should members of staff need to self-isolate?
  • Can you provide current staff with key skills/knowledge to enable them to temporarily undertake/understand roles outside of their normal remit? Sharing the workload?
  • Have you incorporated furloughing staff and are you current in your knowledge upon the correct processes involved to ensure timely and accurate communications?

b) How can you manage client expectations - both riding school clients and owners of horses at livery?

  • Continue providing client and livery clients with updated information on the opening of your business. Give clear indications on continued limitations/restrictions, providing explanations where applicable.
  • Assure all clients of the preventative measures you are currently undertaking and the changes they can expect from their visit as you open.

c) How can you manage if livery clients either choose to, or are unable to, attend to their horse (as per their livery agreement or contract)

  • Communicate with owners to involve and notify them of alterations to work plans for caring for their horses
  • Where DIY liveries are providing care to horses at the centre, communicate a continued need for a ‘sharing care’ plan between DIY owners – in the event an owner needs to self-isolate, or where access to the centre is still restricted to meet social distance guidelines, plans are required to ensure all welfare needs are met for all horses. A care plan template can be found here.
  • Notify clients promptly, both verbally and in writing of any unavoidable increase in livery charges that may be incurred if you are required to increase paid staffing, ensuring that there is a timeframe for review

d) Should I communicate with all stakeholders?

Clear and timely communications with all stakeholders is important – keeping everyone up to date with the contingency plans you have in place (including re-opening schedules related to other aspects of your provision)

e) What do I need to consider if I am looking to re-open my business after a period of closure or restricted access?

  • Ensure insurance coverage is sufficient for activities being undertaken, especially where a policy was altered due to the lockdown, or activity has altered due to current restrictions/limitations on the business.
  • Explore continued avenues of support, and the furlough scheme etc.

f) Are other equine professionals, i.e. Vets, Farriers, Physios, now attending centres?

See here for full guidance

Business & Financial Support Resources

Visit our 'Business Support Resources' page to find out information about the financial support, grants and funds available to businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak.

See also our ‘Risk Assessment’ page for guidance on re-opening your business.


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



Coronavirus is threatening our riding centres, meaning thousands of horses face an uncertain future. Please consider donating to our Coronavirus (COVID-19) appeal to help support our riding centres and the incredible horses that live in them.

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

Please wait while we complete your membership

Processing your details...