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Clarification on what new coronavirus restrictions mean for horse sport

There will be no major changes for competitors in most equestrian disciplines across the UK, providing all rules are adhered to, in light of the most recent coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out new measures designed to reduce the spread of the virus this week (22 September).

Riders had been concerned about the effect restrictions on indoor sport would have on the winter show season.

But although team disciplines such as horseball will have to revise their plans, and are working on this, a British Equestrian spokesman told H&H: “The protocols cover numbers in indoor/covered arena spaces to facilitate social distancing which keeps us at the right numbers.”

Equestrian venues will have to comply with changes to opening hours, and rules on face coverings for non-sporting, indoor facilities such as cafes and hospitality, but competitions may still run, behind closed doors, with restrictions on the number of helpers allowed, and strict adherence to all rules a must.

“Obviously areas with local restrictions will have added guidance but unless specified, sport and training can continue here too,” the BEF spokesman said.

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“The important message is that all participants – riders, judges, coaches, stewards, officials, organisers, etc – play their part and follow all guidance to the letter to ensure our sports and activity can continue.

“On the whole, the equestrian community has done a fantastic job and their continued vigilance and respect is appreciated.”

Mr Johnson said the changes were “by no means a return to the full lockdown of March”, with no general instructions to stay at home, although he warned that these measures may stay in force for six months, and tougher restrictions will be announced if necessary.

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