New grants available
In the past few days, a number of grant funding opportunities have been announced in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to help provide support, some of which may be applicable to equestrian businesses, community projects and charitable organisations. Full details are available here.
These are in addition to the extensive Government support options previously detailed.
All advice and changes in information are constantly updated on the GOV.UK website, particularly around restrictions, public health and requirements, so you are advised to check it regularly. Please remember the essential advice:
Stay at home
Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (provided you’re unable to work from home)
If you go out, stay two metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
All equine employees, employers and businesses are encouraged to regularly check the advice and guidance on the GOV.UK website, which is being updated regularly to help access help and support.
There is also separate information for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Earlier today, we released a statement on maintaining 12-month booster requirements for competition horses under the umbrella of our Member Bodies. The British Equestrian Veterinary Association (BEVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have advised all vets to only provide emergency cover. Vaccinations are considered routine treatment, so are not provided for under this guidance. If the 12-month booster is missed, your horse will be required to restart the vaccination program in line with the respective Member Body’s requirements. Those Member Bodies with six-month requirements in place will communicate their stance directly to their membership. The British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) has extended their requirement to 12-month boosters, from nine months, for the remainder of 2020. Further details are outlined here.
Member Body activity
Here’s an update on the status of activity across our Member Bodies:
British Dressage & British Showjumping: All training and competition activity is cancelled up to and including 31 May.
British Eventing: All competitions are cancelled until further notice. All training has been refunded until end of April, while entry refunds in the same period are being processed.
British Horseball Association: All competitions in April have been cancelled.
Endurance GB: All rides have been cancelled with immediate effect until at least the end of May.
United Kingdom Polocrosse Association: No tournaments or training will be held before the end of May.
British Carriagedriving: All training and competitions have been cancelled until the end of April.
British Equestrian Vaulting: All activity ceased with immediate effect until otherwise notified.
Mounted Games Association: No competitions will take place until further notice. This decision will be reviewed at the end of June.
Pony Club: All organised ridden activity ceased until further notice. The situation will be constantly monitored and a further decision made at the end of June.
RDA: All regional qualifiers and the National Championships have been cancelled.
British Horse Society: All BHS activity, including local events and gatherings, BHS Assessments CPD activity, Safeguarding and First aid courses, have been cancelled or postponed until the end of June 2020.
Travelling to care for your horse, or to work for those who are employed in the care of horses, is allowed under the current Government restrictions while respecting the official guidance, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating.
If you have to travel to a yard to attend to your own horse, it is essential that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain two metres away from others. You should remember to wash your hands with soap and water both before and after contact with any animals. It’s worth keeping your horse’s passport or a signed letter from your yard owner in the car with you if you’re stopped by the police.
For those working with horses, the Equestrian Employers Association has provided a template letter to help with your journey if the police challenge you. It’s part of their coronavirus information hub. Those working in a yard environment are required to observe Public Health guidelines around social distancing and hygiene at all times.
Our advice on riding remains unchanged – we recommend that people don’t ride their horses unless strictly necessary. We should all respect the Government’s message of ‘stay safe, save the NHS, stay home’, and carefully consider the risks associated with riding. As a community, we should not be putting any additional pressure on our emergency and NHS services.
Personal circumstances will vary and we respect that individuals and businesses are being affected heavily in this situation, but we should all consider the potential impact of our choices.
While we can only offer advice, we would ask all riders to make an informed decision on whether to ride or not. If you do make the choice, we urge you to please ride within your means, wear up-to-standard safety equipment, avoid any high-risk activity and stay within the boundaries of your yard environment.