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Equestrian sport takes ‘positive steps towards full resumption’ as further restrictions lifted

Indoor arenas have been given the green light to reopen in Wales in a step forward in the easing of lockdown restrictions in the country.

Wales’ first minister Mark Drakeford announced on 31 July that indoor sport facilities could open today (Monday, 10 August), provided protective measures are implemented.

This includes social distancing and risk assessments.

“The advice from the Welsh Sports Association is that facilities with covered/indoor arenas in Wales should check with their insurance providers and local authorities before commencing activity,” said a statement from British Equestrian (BEF).

“This covers general activity and competitions but with numbers of no more than 30 at any time.”

The move has been hailed a “positive step” towards the full resumption of equestrian sport across Great Britain.

Restrictions on outdoor activities also remains at 30, which is proving challenging for the equine industry, but some competition has been able to resume within the guidelines, including affiliated and Quest dressage.

“Equestrian activity and sport continues to take positive steps towards full resumption across Great Britain, with everyone concerned working hard within directives set by governments and their representatives,” added the BEF statement.

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Scotland has been given the go-ahead to restart competition, and restrictions on coaching have also been eased.

“We have worked continuously with our member bodies, discipline chairs and reps, officials, venues and organisers, and we are all in agreement that this is a much-needed, and most helpful, move forward,” said horsescotland chairman, Grant Turnbull.

“All disciplines are now working hard to implement the guidance to meet their individual competitive environments and I urge you, at all times, to work with, not against, what is being done.”

The Showing Council has also released a blueprint to help with the safe return of the discipline, in consultation with the BEF and Sport England.

“I am very proud of the work done by the working party and the council, it shows what can be achieved when organisations pull together and show a united front,” said chairman, David Ingle. “The Showing Council has always worked hard for the good of showing and this process has made it more visible.”

Team sport guidance has been agreed for mounted games and polocrosse, which contains guidance designed to minimise the chance of virus transmission and allow participants to make informed decisions about their own risk.

“A return to equestrian team sports action plan has also been produced by British Equestrian and relevant member bodies, which details a standard approach to the management of events in England, including team training sessions and competitions, for equestrian team sports,” added the BEF statement.

“This action plan will sit alongside the DCMS’s [Department of Culture, Media and Sport] ‘Return to Recreational Sport Framework’, which must also be implemented by organisers, and government social distancing guidelines.

“An application for horseball to resume, compiled by British Equestrian and the British Horseball Association, is currently in production.”

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