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Equestrian sport gets nod to continue within new Government restrictions

Equestrian sport may continue to operate under its current rules within new Government restrictions on the number of individuals allowed to meet, it has been confirmed.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced this week that gatherings of people in England would be limited to six from Monday (14 September).

But British Equestrian has now had confirmation from Sport England that organised equestrian sport and activity, run under governing bodies’ published and approved “return to play” rules and guidelines, may continue as it has been.

Businesses must also record the contact details of customers, staff and visitors to support the NHS test and trace programme. Most equestrian businesses have been doing so in their resumption plans, but all must now have recording plans.

British Equestrian head of participation David Butler said: “We’ve worked closely with our member bodies to get them prepared for returning to action safely, and most are back up and running under Covid protocols.

“Having stringent plans in place was vital, but even more so with these new restrictions being made law because our plans mean that activity can safely continue. I’d urge all equestrian businesses, particularly in England at present, to be extra vigilant and rigorously ensure the guidance is strictly adhered to, as well as health and hygiene measures.

“It’s easy to become complacent, but this change reminds us that coronavirus is still very much with us and we must all play our part in complying with the guidance to minimise the Covid risk when taking part in equestrian activity.”

British Showjumping pointed out that with all sports, there is “close scrutiny” of activities to ensure they comply with Covid safety measures.

“Please ensure that all the work that has gone into getting the sport up and running is not reversed by failure to observe the Covid-19 protocols,” a spokesman said.

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“We are very grateful for the continued support of our show organisers and officials who are working hard to ensure there are facilities available for the sport to take place.

“We would like to thank you for all that you are doing collectively to ensure that our sport is as safe and enjoyable as possible.”

Any equestrians meeting for informal activities such as hacking must adhere to the six-person maximum.

There are no changes to the numbers who can gather in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

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