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New guidance on riding and coaching in Scotland as lockdown eases

Riders in Scotland can resume lessons outdoors as lockdown restrictions ease – but coaches must only deliver training to one household per day, and shows remain off.

Following a Scottish government update yesterday (28 May) the first minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed people in Scotland will be able to meet friends and family outside from today, and travel locally for exercise – with five miles as a guide maximum distance – under phase one of the route out of lockdown.

In a statement today Horsescotland said it had worked with Sportscotland and the Scottish government to produce guidance for equestrians in Scotland – adding there may be a “variance” in guidelines and procedures throughout the UK.

“Our equestrian community has been given a very welcome opportunity to benefit from the relaxed restrictions,” said the spokesman.

“We urge everyone involved in the sport to be respectful of the guidelines. This will help us ensure that we can advance to a fully phased reintroduction of the sport as we all know and love it, when the time is right.”

The guidance states one-to-one coaching is permitted outdoors with one other person – while adhering to social distancing measures – but indoor facilities but remain closed to the public, including arenas, toilets and cafes. Travel should be local and in line with Scottish government guidelines, and peak travel times should be avoided where possible.

“Coaching risk assessments must be carried out and documented at all sites. Consider safety first, particularly minimising the risk of infection/transmission,” it states.

“Appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures must be put in place to ensure participants, staff and volunteers are always protected.”

No spectating should take place, but if a parent is supervising a child or vulnerable adult, this will be allowed if social distancing measures are followed. The guidance also states coaches should not deliver training to more than one household per day.

“Coaches should plan appropriately the session in advance, be aware of responsibilities, be clear on expectations with participants and build in a review period to reflect on effectiveness and safety of the session,” reads the guidance.

Hiring outdoor facilities is permitted with another people from one other household – but with a maximum of eight people.

The guidance added that no competitions or shows should take place.

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“The initial focus during this phase should be on facilitating recreational and social play and letting participants practise and exercise,” it states.

Equine professionals can attend to a horse but the guidance states risk assessments should be carried out and documented for “all activities and facilities” – and travel should be local.

“Any professional support network member that is in any doubt should seek clarification from their insurance provider or registered body,” it states.

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