On Sunday (10 May), Boris Johnson announced the easing of some lockdown measures. The British Horse Society (BHS) duly urged the equestrian community in England, Scotland and Wales to resume riding, while maintaining social distancing and staying alert to control the virus.
This means that hacking can resume in most cases. But can you hack out with a friend?
The answer is yes for England, but in line with the government guidance, you should only be with one other rider if they are outside of your household. People should not be hacking out in groups with non-household members, and in order to maintain social distancing, riders should hack in single file.
The government’s measures to delay the spread of coronavirus has significantly reduced the number of vehicles on the roads, but there has been evidence of an increase in the number of people cycling, and also vehicle speeds increasing on the roads, so be safe, be seen and be fully aware of your surroundings at all times while hacking.
Hacking for exercise should be local and low key and must be compliant with Scottish access legislation.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Ensure you hack out on your own property or place you keep you horse, or within close proximity to your home.
Riding should be done on your own or with family members. You should not meet ie hack/ride with people from other households. Hacking should also only be local and if following government guidelines ideally riding should start and end from home.
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Before you get back on board, here are some things to consider so that you can enjoy your horse safely...
The chances are that your horse has either been on a reduced workload, or has not been ridden at all
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Things to bear in mind…
- If possible lunge or walk your horse in-hand before going out on the roads — particularly if they have been on a reduced workload or not in work at all over the past few weeks.
- Try and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Do not ride out in poor visibility.
- Wear hi-viz to maximise the chances of other road users seeing you
- Consider the time of day when riding on the road. Although there is less traffic on the roads, there is still an element of rush hour with people driving to work.
- Choose a quiet route if you can.
- Exercise your horse in company with another horse and rider (social distance rules apply) or with someone walking alongside you, if possible.
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