Please note - we will keep information in this area as up to date as possible, however, due to the fast-moving nature of the current situation, news and guidelines are constantly changing. We will endeavour to update with further guidance when appropriate.
There are currently no specific guidelines regarding riding horses, however the Countryside Alliance understands that there is a huge demand for a better understanding of whether those who own or care for horses are able to visit them following the Prime Minister’s statement on 23rd March.
Animal welfare is of critical importance and it is therefore understood that grooms or sole carers for horses can travel to provide care for their horses in accordance with the government guidelines. This would also apply to other animals and livestock for those who work on farms, in racing yards, kennels or veterinary establishments.
If horses are kept at livery and not on your own private property, please ensure you are aware of any protocols that yards may have put into place by liaising directly with yard owners or managers.
There will be no equestrian competitions or events taking place throughout the forthcoming weeks and the hunting season has been closed.
The British Horse Society said the following in their statement issued earlier today (24th March 2020): “We advise that it is not appropriate to put unnecessary pressure on the emergency services and everyone should make their own individual decision as to whether riding is necessary at this time.”
The National Trainers Federation issued this statement following the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday 23rd March: “Our advice is to continue getting horses out on the gallops and other exercise areas, while observing the distancing rules with the utmost discipline. Tell your staff that failure to observe the rules is a disciplinary offence. Make sure you, as their employer, lead by example and that all the necessary equipment and advice is available in the yard for them to wash and dry hands, clean surfaces, and keep at least 2 metres apart.”
At all times, it is vital that everybody complies with government guidelines regarding the Covid-19 outbreak which can be found here.
Advice from DEFRA if your horse in in livery and you have symptoms
Advice if you have symptoms of coronavirus and must remain at home for 7 days, or 14 as a household.
If you have a horse in livery, you must not visit them whilst you are self-isolating. You should contact your yard manager or vet to make suitable welfare arrangements.
Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus
You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with leaving your house to provide care for your horse or livestock. It is essential that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 metres away from others. You should remember to wash your hands before and after contact with any animals.
If your horse needs urgent attention from a farrier
If your horse requires urgent attention from a farrier, you should phone the farrier to arrange the best approach to meet your horses' needs. You and the farrier must ensure that you keep 2 metres apart and wash your hands before and after contact with the horse.