There is still no relaxation of lockdown restrictions, but as medical and emergency services are operating within capacity, there is no more need to recommend riding only when strictly necessary. This is good news for all public riders in Great Britain. Equestrians can exercise their horses and can even go hacking, as long as the UK government guidelines are respected.
Social distancing, public health as well as hygiene and biosecurity requirements still have priority. But the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) considers exercising horses possible, according to a press release of BEF. The new resommendation of the BEF was out after UK Prime Minister’s broadcast on Sunday 10 May, telling that the peak of COVID infections is passed and medical services are working within capacity.
For british riders this is very good news as equestrians can ride their own horses or those horses that are in their care after a couple of weeks of lockdown, when riders were not allowed to ride their horses. The reason behind this recommendation was to minimize risks and to make sure medical services can concentrate totally on COVID infections. It is no secret that accidents with horses can have severe injuries. Now riding is no longer forbidden, training is permitted in the style of face-to-face trainings. Coaches are permitted to travel to yards to give lessons. Although in regards of travelling it is important to mention, that travel restrictions are still valid in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Malcolm Wharton, Chairman of British Equestrian Federation (BEF) commented: “Right across the country most people have upheld their societal responsibility to help with the management of the pandemic and the equestrian community has certainly risen to the challenge. These have been testing weeks with many riders separated from their horses, coaches and grooms, often without income, and riding schools without their clients – whatever our situation, none of us have been unaffected. Many have followed our advice to the letter and some have continued to ride, but as safely as is possible and I thank you all for your support. Conditions are right that we can soften our message, as we all know the proven health benefits, both in terms of physical and mental well-being, that exercising with horses brings. We need to remain vigilant, stay alert and not take any undue risks, so that we can continue to ease towards the full resumption of activity, when the time is right.”