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Guidance for horse owners in Wales during ‘firebreak’ lockdown

Guidance has been provided for horse owners as a two-week “firebreak” lockdown begins in Wales on Friday (23 October).

The Welsh government announced yesterday (19 October) that from 6pm on Friday, everyone living in Wales must stay at home, except for limited reasons, and certain businesses have to shut, until 9 November.

The government said the firebreak will be “short but sharp” to have a maximum impact on the coronavirus and people must remain at home except for “very limited purposes” such as exercise. People should not visit other households, or meet people they do not live with, indoors or outdoors. Following the firebreak, a new set of national rules will be introduced covering how people can meet, and how businesses can operate.

In an update yesterday the British Horse Society said owners and carers in Wales may attend to/care for their horses daily to ensure the horses’ welfare needs are met.

“Horse riding is permitted as a form of exercise, but you should not take any unnecessary risks so as to put pressure on the NHS,” said a BHS spokesman.

The BHS added that owners can seek emergency treatment from a vet, travel horses in an emergency, although other travel should be avoided, and call a farrier for emergency work.

A spokesman for British Dressage (BD) said in line with the new restrictions, all BD training and competition activity will be suspended for the duration of the lockdown.

“I’m sure all members in Wales will be as frustrated as we are that we’ve once again had to put activity on hold. However, it’s vitally important that we continue to follow the restrictions and play our part to help minimise the spread of Covid-19,” said BD chief executive Jason Brautigam.

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“We would urge everyone to comply fully so this short circuit-breaker has every chance of success. As difficult as this is for everyone, we are hoping this will be a temporary setback for just over two weeks before activity can once again resume. We will be working closely with our venues, organisers, coaches and officials to ensure that we can comply with any additional mitigations required for a successful restart.

“In the meantime we thank all of our members in Wales for their co-operation, support and understanding. We will share any updates from the Welsh government, Sport Wales and the Welsh Sports Association as soon as they become available.”

In a statement yesterday a spokesman for British Eventing said members are reminded it is the responsibility of each individual to comply with their local guidance and any restrictions in place.

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