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The British Horse Society's statement on the lockdown in England – 12 November 2020

12 Nov 2020


Thank you for your patience whilst we have been working with Defra and DCMS to gain clarification on the Covid Legislation and the impact on riding schools.

We have just received the following information from Defra Animal Welfare Team re clarification on the operation of Riding Schools during lockdown, this is also being circulated to all Local Authorities.

  • Riding schools cannot reopen to deliver lessons unless these form part of the core curriculum of formal education or professional/work-related training/development. This includes 1-1 training sessions.
  • Employees of the riding centre may continue to visit the premises to maintain the property, and care for the animals located there (including exercise them).
  • You can continue to visit riding establishments as a member of the public if this is where a horse that you own or care for is kept (presumably in a stable attached).
  • You may continue to exercise a horse you own or care for in a public outdoor place (including ride it) as part of outdoor recreation. This can be within your same household or support bubble, or in a 1-1 meeting with one other person you don't live with.

This means that:

  • Riding schools can remain open where they provide formal education or training including training for regulated qualifications e.g. BHS stages 2 to 4
  • Riding schools must close for recreational lessons including one to one sessions
  • You can continue to attend a riding school to care and exercise a horse where you are the owner, loaner or carer of that horse
  • You can continue to visit a livery yard to care for and exercise a horse which you own, loan or share
  • Coaches can continue to travel for work and deliver coaching on a one to one basis

Where a riding school is required to close we suggest that the business owner contact their Local Authority and ask for details of the Business Grants which are available to businesses which have been told to close as part of the National Restrictions in England.

Facility Hire, Travel and 1-2-1 lessons:

The external hire of equestrian facilities is not permitted under the legislation so you may not travel to a venue and pay to ride on the premises (arenas, farm tracks, gallops, jumps, cross country schooling, etc.).

Venues which normally offer this service should suspend hire for the duration of the lockdown.

However, the legislation does allow you to travel to exercise, with your horse, to a public space e.g. bridleway.

You can also have a one to one lesson with a coach using the arena where your horse is kept or the arena at your coach’s permanent base, if they have one. The legislation does not allow you to hire an arena, cross country course or other facility, to meet with your coach for a lesson.

We appreciate that, whilst the legislation does allow for arena use but not the hire of arenas and facilities, this has caused frustration and confusion. However this position has been confirmed by SportEngland.

All advice and guidance is subject to change as and when government issue further details. This advice will be updated when further details are issued. Whilst this is the BEF and the BHS interpretation and advice we strongly recommend that you consult with both your insurance provider and local authority to help make the right decisions for your businesses and circumstances.


For horse owners and livery yards in England

This advice and information is to help support horse owners and those who care for horses during the Covid-19 outbreak.


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


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