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Lockdown update: clarification provided for riding schools

Riding schools operating under English lockdown regulations are only allowed to provide lessons for the purposes of formal education or training, but not for recreation.

In an update today (12 November) the British Horse Society (BHS) said it had been liaising with Defra and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to gain clarification on Covid legislation and the impact on riding schools.

In guidance provided by Defra to the BHS, which is also being circulated to all local authorities, it has been confirmed that riding schools cannot reopen to deliver lessons, unless these form part of the core curriculum of formal education or professional/work-related training/development. This includes one-to-one training sessions.

“This means that riding schools can remain open where they provide formal education or training including training for regulation qualifications such as BHS stages two to four,” said a BHS spokesman.

“Riding schools must close for recreational lessons, including one-to-one sessions,” he said.

“Where a riding school is required to close we suggest the business owner contact their local authority and ask for details of the business grants which are available to businesses that have been told to close as part of the national restrictions in England.”

The BHS spokesman said employees of riding centres may continue to visit the premises to maintain the property and care for, including exercising, the animals located there.

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“You can continue to attend a riding school to care and exercise a horse where you are the owner, loaner or carer of that horse,” he added.

Owners may still visit livery yards to care and exercise their horses, coaches can continue to travel for work and deliver coaching on a one-to-one basis.

“You may continue to exercise a horse you own or care for in a public outdoor place as part of outdoor recreation. This can be within your same household or support bubble, or in a one-to-one meeting with one other person you don’t live with,” said the spokesman.

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