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Are Riding Lessons Allowed In Lockdown

author
Brent Mccoy
• Monday, 02 November, 2020
• 10 min read

Riding schools operating under English lockdown regulations are only allowed to provide lessons for the purposes of formal education or training, but not for recreation. In an update today (12 November) the British Horse Society (BHS) said it had been liaising with Debra and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to gain clarification on COVID-19 legislation and the impact on riding schools.

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(Source: midrandreporter.co.za)

Contents

In guidance provided by Debra to the BHS, which is also being circulated to all local authorities, it has been confirmed that riding schools cannot reopen to deliver lessons, unless these form part of the core curriculum of formal education or professional/work-related training/development. The BHS spokesman said employees of riding centers may continue to visit the premises to maintain the property and care for, including exercising, the animals located there.

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If you own a horse or a pony, what you’re allowed to do in terms of riding, caring for them, and meeting their needs during lockdown 2 can be a bit confusing. Added to this, there has been a fair amount of backtracking in terms of guidance on what is and is not permitted for equestrian-related businesses during this time too, particularly when it comes to things like riding lessons and equestrian centers.

This article is designed to help cut through some confusion, and supply the answers to six frequently asked questions about horses, ponies, riding and stable management during lockdown 2. This may mean routine and preventative treatments, but if your horse is sick, injured, or needs care or something doing as a welfare issue, your vet will work to help you as normal.

You may find though again that your farrier needs to prioritize clients according to their level of need, and so appointments may work rather differently to normal. You are also allowed to travel your horse in a truck or trailer to take them to an arena or other area to exercise, if this can be achieved while maintaining social distance.

(Source: www.gingerliu.com)

At the start of lockdown 2 restriction discussions, facilities like riding schools and commercial stables were actually listed as among the types of non-essential business that had to close. However, other businesses in the fields of education and tuition were permitted to stay open, and so as a result of requests and work undertaken on the part of the BHS, AIRS and BHC, riding centers and riding schools are now permitted to offer lessons and stay open in lockdown 2; providing that they can do so within the remit of the legislation, undertake the appropriate risk assessments, and can enact social distancing and hygiene measures.

Yes, feed suppliers and country stores and all the usual types of places you’d use to buy feed and accessories for your horse are permitted to open, but they too are covered by the restrictions that apply to all business on selling only essential goods. There are a lot of changes taking place to the COVID-19 lockdown rules for equestrians across the entire nation.

SCOTLAND ONLY: Horse owners who've been prevented visiting their horse will now be allowed to visit, providing appropriate hygiene, health and safety and social distances measures are in place. WALES ONLY: Horse owners who've been prevented visiting their horse, due to travel restrictions, will now be allowed to visit providing appropriate hygiene, health and safety and social distances measures are in place.

Horse Health Appointments ENGLAND ONLY: All veterinary procedures and routine appointments will be allowed to take place, providing every visit/procedure is risk-assessed and should only go ahead where the risks (to physical safety and disease transmission) can be sufficiently avoided. Two-seater social distancing must still take place, and it recommended that shared equipment is appropriately disinfected before other's use.

SCOTLAND ONLY: All veterinary procedures and routine appointments will be allowed to take place, providing every visit/procedure is risk-assessed and should only go ahead where the risks (to physical safety and disease transmission) can be sufficiently avoided. Two-seater social distancing must still take place, and it recommended that shared equipment is appropriately disinfected before other's use.

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(Source: caymaneco.org)

WALES ONLY: All veterinary procedures and routine appointments will be allowed to take place, providing every visit/procedure is risk-assessed and should only go ahead where the risks (to physical safety and disease transmission) can be sufficiently avoided. Two-seater social distancing must still take place, and it recommended that shared equipment is appropriately disinfected before other's use.

ENGLAND ONLY: The new lockdown rules are allowing riding schools to begin offering group lessons and hacks again! Riding schools and centers will be able to accommodate up to five people from separate households, plus one coach.

When meeting another household, only a gathering of 8 people are allowed and social distancing must me adhered by. Therefore, private and small group riding lessons can commence following strict distancing and hygiene measures.

Outdoor sports facilities will be open from Thursday 18 June 2021, under the discretion that they meet strict health and safety requirements. *Due to daily developments, further restrictions regarding the UK's Lockdown may be enforced over the subsequent days.

All affiliated equestrian sport has ceased for the duration of the second lockdown, it has been confirmed, but riders may ride, and travel horses in some circumstances. “All competition and organized training under the auspices of our member bodies has been suspended for the duration of the lockdown, ” a BEF spokesman said.

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(Source: caymaneco.org)

“We would strongly advise all competition taking place outside regulated body control to also be suspended, and for riders not to support any shows for the period of lockdown. In an update on Friday (6 November), it advised that external hire of equestrian facilities is not allowed, so riders may not travel to a venue and pay to ride there.

This includes arenas, gallops and cross-country schooling venues, and all businesses that offer this service should suspend hire for the duration of the lockdown. A spokesman said on 6 November: While we have endeavored to cover all points, and have sought and received further guidance from DAMS and Sport England, we are now seeking further clarity from Debra regarding some possible equine welfare issues within the guidance, which also includes establishing a final position on travelling horses for lessons /training and will advise further in due course.

“ Riding centers and schools may remain open and deliver formal training and education under the requirements of the legislation, and clients are permitted to travel to take part,” the spokesman said. People may leave home to seek advice about the health and welfare of horses, and other animals, and to care for or exercise them.

“We’ve worked hard with Government, in conjunction with our member bodies, to get to a position that upholds the aim of the lockdown but still enables the equestrian sector to function in the best interests of horse welfare and the livelihoods of all involved. “The removal of stables and riding centers from the list of venues that should close during lockdown has to be counted as a small victory for us all, and shows the power of what can be achieved when we speak with one voice.

I thank the teams in the BHS, AIRS, BHC and a number of other member bodies for their help and support, and we’ll all work with our stakeholders to run what activity we can safely and within the legislation. Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice.

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(Source: caymaneco.org)

Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits. 1 in 3 people with the virus show no symptoms, so the risk of transferring it to those more vulnerable is extremely high.

Hospitals are facing extreme difficulty, with most beds being taken and little to no space in intensive care units. However, leisure riding isn’t permitted, given the government’s latest ruling: “You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble.

Further information in the latest document states that “It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting).

The rules also state that You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). The DSA has released a statement confirming that all driving and riding tests have been suspended until the restrictions are lifted.

This includes ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) part 2 and 3 tests, and standard checks. Affected riders will be forced to use public transport, and should contact their local riding school to discuss a future appointment as spaces will get taken quickly.

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(Source: caymaneco.org)

The rules are broadly similar to those applied to England, though there’s no limit to the number of times you can exercise outside, and while construction and manufacturing remain open in both countries, most other services and stores will be closed. Wales has been under ‘stay at home’ restrictions since 20 December, and while schools were expected to return, this has now been cancelled.

While confusion seems to creep in for many, the rules are simple common sense in order to limit the potential for deaths due to Coronavirus: 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.

England is now under a National Lockdown and there are new restrictions in place which will impact on horse owners and our riding schools. We understand how worrying this new lockdown will be for everyone but please be assured that the BHS will be providing support and guidance as it becomes available.

The BHS Welfare helpline is also available to offer help and support during the Coronavirus pandemic and can be accessed by calling 02476 840517. Information about the current situation and regulations in the Isle of Man during the 3 week circuit-break lockdown from 7 January can be found here.

Are they applying social distancing and disinfecting tack between riders? Have the parents driven them there from far away? I'm not really sure, I had a similar ponderable about one near me that was still doing some lessons a couple of weeks ago.

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(Source: caymaneco.org)

TBF, I don't really understand why freelance instructors aren't still teaching individual lessons in carefully managed environments. I can't see why the current regulations would preclude them from teaching from 2 m away on a private property.

My instructor could teach but says he is scared of being stopped by the police driving to places. There are so many professions, gardeners, window cleaners, etc who could be working and paying taxes instead of furloughed and taking money out of the system.

Would the instructor have to stand back and call and ambulance and hope that the paramedics had PPE? In terms of falling there is a similar issue for all potential workplace accidents.

I've been trying to juggle the wording of risk assessments for the last couple of weeks...in short it's a tricky one but first aid takes precedence. For example if the livery comes up daily to care for and exercise the horse daily anyway, and one day a week an instructor oversees a ride/gives a lesson, where the livery tacks their own horse and the instructor walks into the school and stands a distance away instructing. There is still the whole vapors in the air thing, and possibility of an accident.

Although someone here (in Germany) argued it is safer/not a bad thing for an amateur rider to be overseen by a professional. For example if the livery comes up daily to care for and exercise the horse daily anyway, and one day a week an instructor oversees a ride/gives a lesson, where the livery tacks their own horse and the instructor walks into the school and stands a distance away instructing. There is still the whole vapors in the air thing, and possibility of an accident.

Although someone here (in Germany) argued it is safer/not a bad thing for an amateur rider to be overseen by a professional. I am still teaching one client, they are at livery with me and coming to exercise their horse in rehab, so I am not traveling, can keep a sensible distance and know them well enough to avoid doing anything that may cause her to end up on the floor, in the 5 years she has owned her she has only come off once so the odds are in our favor, I am not going outside clients and am not having any bring their horses here.

I am still teaching one client, they are at livery with me and coming to exercise their horse in rehab, so I am not traveling, can keep a sensible distance and know them well enough to avoid doing anything that may cause her to end up on the floor, in the 5 years she has owned her she has only come off once so the odds are in our favor, I am not going outside clients and am not having any bring their horses here. I think if they are private lessons and the rider is capable of mounting and sorting themselves out without assistance, I cannot see a massive issue (providing their covered by insurance and maintaining social distancing etc).

In some respects, riding a horse is exercising it and part of looking after its welfare if it needs to stay at a healthy weight. I do understand why people are grumpy about this sort of thing but with so many businesses struggling, I think if a riding school can operate in a way that is not endangering horses or riders, they should be allowed (I would extend the same idea to any business).

In terms of falling there is a similar issue for all potential workplace accidents. I've been trying to juggle the wording of risk assessments for the last couple of weeks...in short it's a tricky one but first aid takes precedence.

Lots of people still working in call centers, warehouses and offices. I am still teaching one client, they are at livery with me and coming to exercise their horse in rehab, so I am not traveling, can keep a sensible distance and know them well enough to avoid doing anything that may cause her to end up on the floor, in the 5 years she has owned her she has only come off once so the odds are in our favor, I am not going outside clients and am not having any bring their horses here.

Can riding instructors stay within the requirements of their insurance if they're socially distancing from their clients though? Surely they need to be able to check girths, reposition wayward legs, and if necessary pick people up from the floor.

Are they doing completely the wrong thing continuing to turn a profit while all other equine professionals are struggling? BHS guidelines say lessons are not essential also don't think there insurance will be valid.

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Sources
1 www.autozone.com - https://www.autozone.com/batteries-starting-and-charging/battery/nissandatsun/rogue
2 - /rebates/welcome