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Advice for equestrians during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak

updated 1/10/20 BRC guidance 

The British Horse Society is closely monitoring the Government’s advice regarding the Coronavirus outbreak. The situation is still changing and as a result it is strongly advised that horse owners put together a care plan for their horse should you have to self-isolate or become ill.


With further announcements from the UK and devolved governments, BRC are now able to issue the following update with regards to BRC activities.  


The following updates are BRC’s current interpretation of the most recent government guidance and are subject to change, as and when government advice is updated. 



General law 

Following the latest 21-day review of the coronavirus regulations, the First Minister has set out a phased timetable to ease restrictions for large parts of Wales’ visitor, hospitality, and leisure and tourism sectors.


The law in Wales will continue to make the 2m distance the default position, because this remains the safest way to protect people’s health. But when 2m cannot reasonably be maintained, the regulations will require businesses to put in place a set of additional measures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading, including taking reasonable steps to minimise close face-to-face contact and maintain hygiene.

The Welsh Government is also making changes to the regulations to allow larger gatherings of up to 30 people outdoors only where these are organised and supervised by a responsible person for sports and other leisure activities and classes.

Further information is available here.

With the announcements over the last few days from the UK and devolved governments, BRC are now able to issue the following update with regards to BRC activities. It should be noted that whilst the respective governments are producing regular updates, these then require careful consideration and interpretation, to make the guidance relevant to our individual sector.


Please note, while the guidance is current at the point of publication, it may quickly be superseded following further government updates, or changes to the situation. Please bear with us while we make these changes.

Update -  30th September 2020

General Rules

Travelling horses 

  • There are no legal restrictions on travelling horses in Wales.

  • There is equally no restriction on how far people can travel. However Welsh Government has advised that journeys should be essential and kept to a minimum.

  • In lockdown area you cannot leave your county, unless you have reasonable excuse (see below). 

Social Distancing

  • In Wales this remains at 2m

Face coverings

  • Face coverings must be worn in indoor public places e.g. covered riding arenas bar those who are riding and only when riding. Spectators and coaches need to wear masks at all times. This information has been circulated by the Welsh Sports Association (WSA) and World Health Organisation (WHO).

  • Face coverings are not mandatory outside except where people come within 2m. 

  • Children under 11yrs do not have to wear facemasks and those with underlying health conditions.

Specific rules for a lockdown area

People can only leave their lockdown area with reasonable excuse. These include: 

  • To work, if you cannot work from home

  • To provide care

  • Travelling to education (school, college, university etc.)

  • Elite athletic training and competitions

  • To provide or receive emergency assistance

  • To meet a legal obligation, and to access or receive public services

  • To avoid injury or illness or escape a risk of harm

For the equine community this means:

  • Equine businesses are still open, including indoor schools.

  • Riding centres can legally have 30 people on site at any one time, the rule of 6 applies to domestic households not organised sport. 

  • Riding centres can only teach people from within in their lockdown area, you cannot go into other neighbouring lockdown areas. 

  • Riding centres will have hygiene measures (hand sanitising) in place and everyone will be expected to abide by social distancing measures (2m).

  • Horse owners can ride out/hack without restriction of distance - but you must stay in your county.

  • Leaving a lockdown area for a riding lesson in a non-lockdown area is not reasonable excuse to travel.

  • If you live in a lockdown area but your horse is stabled in another county which is not in lockdown it is essential you attend to your horse daily. this is reasonable excuse.

  • Sporting events/competitions e.g. BHS BS BD and BRC should be suspended in lockdown areas, so as not to put pressure on the NHS.

  • You can travel through a lockdown area e.g. M4 and A55.

  • You can travel for work from a non-lockdown area into a lockdown area if you cannot work from home e.g. freelance coaches.


Read more at the Governments website:

General Covid 19 advice

  • Continue 2m social distancing whenever possible, wear facial covering if 2m distancing not possible 

  • If you feel unwell and are showing the symptoms of Covid 19 do not go to the yard

  • Put together a plan which outlines your horses care in case someone else needs to look after your horse if you are ill.

  • Avoid social contact with others and maintain a 2 metre distance between yourself and others

  • Ensure you have sufficient hand washing facilities. After using shared yard equipment, such as wheelbarrows or the hose, wash your hands. Use an antibacterial spray to disinfect all shared equipment.

  • Follow the government guidance on hygiene and hand washing, wash your hands before going to the yard and make sure you wash them frequently when you are there.

  • Prepare for self-isolation

  • Make 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. You will need to self-isolate for at least seven days or 14 in a shared household. If you have no alternative and it’s a question of welfare, you can attend to your horse but only as a last resort and within your own property boundaries when riding.