Coronavirus restrictions have been tightened in Britain, with England, Wales, mainland Scotland and Northern Ireland all now in lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. The overarching message is that everyone must stay at home with the exception of specific reasons. But can you ride? Horse & Hound tried to answer the FAQ's.
Can I ride my horse?
Yes — the British Horse Society (BHS) has confirmed you can continue to ride. This includes owners, loaners and sharers travelling to care for and exercise a horse when he is not kept at home. However, riding schools must close for public lessons and activities; arena hire is not permitted and all organised activities and competitions must stop.
My horse is on DIY livery: am I allowed to care for him?
The BHS website specifically states that livery yards can continue to allow horse owners, loaners or sharers to care for and exercise their horses. This is also spelt out in the Government guidance, which states people can leave their homes to visit and provide care for (including riding) horses, including when the animal is kept on livery.
How should I prepare in case I fall ill and can’t care for my horse?
The BEF recommends making a plan with your yard owner or manager, or your fellow liveries, for what will happen if you’re unable to get to the yard. If you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 or if somebody in your household does, even if they’re only mild, do not visit your horse.
My horse is on full livery: am I allowed to go and ride him?
Yes, you can. The BHS guidance states livery yards can continue to allow horse owners, loaners or sharers to care for and exercise their horses. You may also use the arena at your yard. However, riding schools must close for public lessons and activities.
Are we allowed to hack out under the current restrictions?
Yes you can, provided you are following the Government rules regarding outdoor exercise.
Can I call the vet out to my horse?
Yes you can. Practices are open, and the British Equine Veterinary Association has advised members to minimise travel, and contact with others, risk-assess all procedures and use professional judgement on what action may be deferred.
Can my farrier shoe/trim my horse?
Yes, farriers have been allowed to continue their essential services throughout the lockdown restrictions, while taking precautions and using their judgement as to matters of priority and urgency.
Are we allowed to transport our horses away from home?
Travel for veterinary or welfare purposes has always been permitted and continues to be at this time.Arena hire is not permitted during lockdown, but arenas can be used for exercising horses which are stabled at that venue, livery yard or riding school.
Can I travel to another place for competition or training?
All competition and organised training is cancelled during lockdown and arena hire is not permitted, in line with the Government rules that people must stay home.