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Riders urged to get back in the saddle following changes to coronavirus restrictions 

Riders in England, Scotland and Wales have been encouraged to start riding their horses again this week following changes to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

After prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday (10 May) that some lockdown measures were to be eased, the British Horse Society has put out a statement.

A spokesman told H&H today (11 May): “We are encouraging our members and the wider equestrian community in England, Scotland and Wales to resume riding while maintaining social distancing and staying alert to control the virus.

“This is with immediate effect in Scotland and Wales (please check your nation’s advice) and with effect from Wednesday, 13 May in England.”

Northern Ireland is still in lockdown until next Monday, and the BHS does not advise people there ride, adding that more guidance will follow.

“The UK government amended the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions for England as of Wednesday 13 May and, today, has produced its Covid-19 recovery strategy which provides further information and guidance,” the spokesman said, adding that this guidance allows taking unlimited outdoor exercise with members of your household, meeting up or taking exercise with one person maximum from outside your household in an outdoor setting while maintaining social distancing and returning to work if you cannot work from home.

“We have prepared the BHS’s guidance as to how best to adopt this guidance for all our equestrian stakeholders,” the spokesman said. “However, we have been made aware that Sport England will be producing equestrian-specific guidance within the next 48 hours and as such we have decided to review this information before we release our guidance to ensure that we are aligned with Sport England and the British Equestrian Federation member bodies.

“Following a review of our guidance that we will share later in the week, a range of risk assessments and FAQs will be released to assist all our stakeholder groups through their return to riding and business.

“Until then, we have provided some guidance on returning your horse to work and riding safely on the road on our website.”

British Equestrian said this evening: “Following the prime minister’s statement on Sunday, British Equestrian, in close consultation with British Dressage, British Eventing, British Showjumping and the Pony Club, is awaiting further sport sector specific guidance from the government and DCMS.

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“Once we have clarification around what aspects of equestrian activity may be able to resume from Wednesday 13 May, in line with the revisions and taking into consideration regional variations, we will be in a better position to release clear and objective advice for stakeholders across the member bodies.

“This will be communicated as soon as is practicable, but in the meantime we thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we endeavour to provide the most up to date and accurate guidance for all involved in our sector.”

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