Posted on 12th November 2020
The ABRS has consulted extensively with members and council licensing officers.
While the closure of riding schools was removed from Government guidance, licensing officers point out that the lockdown legislation still requires (at Paragraph 24 of Schedule 2) that ‘outdoor sports centres or amenities, including…, stables, … are subject to closure’. Licensing officers have referred to the intent of lockdown, which is to limit virus transmission by stopping household mixing and ensuring individuals make only essential journeys. Licensing officers accept that horse owners, loaners and sharers have an obligation to care for and exercise their horses – which is an animal welfare issue.
Members have been seeking clear advice and guidance that leaves less uncertainty.
The ABRS recommends that Member Riding Establishments and Livery Yards:
– May open to deliver formal education and training (as a vocational training centre and where these training programmes are already in place), with clients permitted to travel to take part. (Regulated or vocational qualifications (CIEC, BTEC, BHS Stage training, and CLTH provision would be classified as formal education and training).
– Can allow access to horse owners, loaners and sharers so that they can care for and exercise their horse(s). Owners, loaners and sharers of horses can travel to care for, and exercise, their horse(s) and can travel their horse(s) for exercise.
– Should not hire horses for private (one-to-one) or group lessons.
– Should not hire their facilities (farm rides, arenas, cross country courses, gallops) to clients.
The legislation allows coaches to continue to travel to work but the regulations reduce the opportunities when coaching can be undertaken. Coaches must limit coaching to those circumstances where a horse would lawfully be ridden under the regulations – when it is already being exercised (for horse welfare) or to support formal training and education. Coaching must be delivered on a one to one basis.
Farriers, vets, dentists, physiotherapist and other equine practitioners can continue to operate.
In our discussions with Council Licensing Officers, all have taken the pragmatic view that exercising of horses can take place on riding establishment or livery yard premises (noting that a charge for facilities is not permitted) as this is often the safest and most secure place to do so. The BEF are seeking to confirm with Defra that this is an acceptable interpretation of the regulations (which refer to exercise being taken in ‘public outdoor spaces’).
This guidance above supersedes advice previously posted on our website and on Facebook. The additional direction being sought from Defra may change our guidance.
If ABRS members wish to confirm whether activities are lawful, we recommend that you speak with your licensing officer or give the ABRS office a call.