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British Equestrian Federation calls for all organised equine activity to stop

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has called for the end of all “organised equine activity” in a move to support government recommendations.

Its member bodies have already called a temporary halt to their competition, training and sporting activities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The BEF recommendation goes further than this, urging the cessation of all organised activity, based on the recommendation for social distancing and people to avoid non-essential travel, which would include things such as clinics.

A statement from the federation said those in the equestrian world “have a role to play in helping with the management and control of the coronavirus in the interests of public health, but also to negate any calls on our health and emergency services”.

The statement added it would advise those who are able to continue to enjoy their horses to do so, within the government guidelines. It also urged owners to plan for the scenario of self-isolation or enforced lockdown.

“There have been some very difficult decisions taken over recent days, but collectively we need to act with responsibility towards the containment and control of the virus,” said interim BEF chairman Malcolm Wharton.

“It’s easy to look at our own situations, but this pandemic affects all of us and we must act in the best interests of society.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely with our international and national partners at government and member body level, and keep the equine community updated with any developments. These are unprecedented times for us all, but by working collectively, we can insure the industry remains strong and viable.

“Stay safe everyone.”

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Those aiming for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are continuing their training and the BEF is liasing with the FEI for any advice surrounding qualifications.

“The messaging from the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and Tokyo Organising committee is very much to continue to prepare,” added the BEF statement. “We continue to liaise closely with our colleagues at the British Olympic Association, ParalympicsGB and UK Sport, too.

Performance director Dickie Waygood added: “Our riders are professional and capable of dealing with any given situation. Taking competitions away will undoubtedly make preparations more difficult, but this outbreak is global and we all have a role to play in its management.

“We’ll work with the riders, utilising technology where possible, to manage preparations with the government guidance and using the expertise in the National Lottery funded UK Sport World Class Programme.”

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