Frequently Asked Questions - Coronavirus & Riding Centres

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Please note, while the guidance is current at the point of publication, it may quickly be superseded following further government updates, or changes to the situation.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

Managing Staffing

One of my staff has been told to self-isolate, do the rest of my staff need to do the same?

Follow the governments advice on their website.

How can I find staffing cover at such short notice?

We advise utilising the below links to access potential freelance coaches and grooms who may be local to your area and able to help

Access the BHS website to view the list of Accredited Professional Coaches – many of whom are freelance grooms so likely to be able to help you out at short notice!

Access the British Grooms Association

Business disruption

I have a liveries/multiple liveries who have stated they can no longer afford the livery, what can I do?

This is a proprietor’s choice, whether they allow a livery to go into arrears, set up a payback scheme or similar

Make suggestions to livery how to cut costs, without forfeiting welfare, can the horse go barefoot? Can they reduce feed if riding less? Is there a grass livery option the Centre can provide? At this time of year adjustments may have to be gradually changed to all management and feeding programmes, and any horses prone to laminitis closely monitored.

Can they switch to a cheaper bedding alternative, straw instead of shavings?

Managing clients

Can owners of horses still attend the Centre to provide care for their horses?

This will differ in every situation and is at the discretion of the proprietor. Where care can be provided to maintain welfare to all horses on site by Centre staff then liveries may not need to travel to the Centre as this is not classed as essential.

In the case of a complete DIY provision where there is no staff or care currently provided, liveries need access to provide essential welfare. Rota’s could be agreed between horse owners to limit the number of people on the yard, in line with government guidelines. You can encourage liveries to buddy up so not everyone is attending every day. You should also encourage each livery to have a contingency plan in case they are required to self-isolate or feel unwell themselves.

Should liveries be allowed to ride their horses?

Currently there is no horse- riding ban by the government but we would encourage all equestrians to adapt their exercise plan to minimize risk due to the significant strain on the NHS.

Individual horse owners are advised to decide as to whether the exercise of their horse is essential considering current circumstances.

Horse owners should consider public perception of being seen to continue to ride out/exercise their horses when the NHS is under considerable strain.

Suggest liveries start letting down their horses, reducing hard feed, reducing exercise length and intensity.

Practical Precautions

What hygiene procedures should I be putting into place as a proprietor of a Livery Yard to protect myself, my staff and my clients?

Ensure there is sufficient access to appropriate working hygiene hand washing/drying facilities and consider additional provision of sanitiser at key location points on the premises for example entrance, reception, communal areas.

What can I be doing to encourage my clients to minimise risk of spreading the Coronavirus?

Whilst use of antibacterial products on all equipment may help maintain cleanliness and support biosecurity, not all products will specifically combat spread of the Coronavirus. It is important to encourage your clients to continue to follow recommended approached such as:

  • Wash hands more often than usual. Wash for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
  • If you sneeze or cough, please cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Immediately wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
  • Clients must follow guidelines to self distance and conform with any protocols put in place by the proprietor to manage this e.g. rotas and/or specific time slots
  • Encourage your clients to be prepared – if they have to self-isolate, how will it impact their day-to-day requirements.
  • Encourage your clients to plan ahead any situation, which might include alternative care for their horse, for example buddy system, specific times allocated to clients to limit contact, putting horse onto Full Livery (if this is an option)

Practical Tips

Ideas to help support liveries/staff in hygiene practices, mental health, and community spirit.

  • Make sure all contact details with clients are current and up to date
  • Set up a Facebook, WhatsApp group to add liveries to, so they can inform everyone when they are attending the Centre. Even a podcast!
  • Get staff/livery owners to post pictures on group chats so those unable to attend feel reassured their horse is ok.
  • Ensure hygiene practices are being followed. Signage and communications daily reiterated
  • Allocate tools if there is just a communal stock – so each member of staff has their own. Colour coding is a good to way to do this – electrical tape works well!
  • Only allow one person at a time into the hay barn, feed room, tack room etc

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.

Read more here.

Downloadable resources


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


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