Posted on January 6th, 2021

BEF COVID update January 2021

All home nations are now under lockdown restrictions across the United Kingdom, with the exception of some offshore islands. Across the four countries, the message is to ‘stay at home’ and only go out for essential reasons such as work that cannot be done from home, healthcare, education and exercise. This will once again have an impact on the equestrian community, with some businesses unable to operate under the restrictions and activity limited largely to meeting care and exercise needs only. 

 

 

 

 

 

Key points

England

  • Minimise time spent outside the home – it is unlawful to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
  • Permitted reasons for leaving home include:
    • work which cannot be done from home
    • accessing education
    • caring responsibilities
    • health and medical requirements
    • buying essential goods or services
    • outdoor exercise
    • attending to care and exercise of an animal or to seek veterinary help/advice.
  • You may leave your home for exercise, but not for the purpose of recreation or leisure activities. This should be once a day and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • You may exercise alone, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
  • While the guidance states that you can travel to work where you cannot work from home, the overarching message of the lockdown is to stay at home. Coaches should read the guidance and assess whether there is a necessity to continue coaching face to face. We would advise 1:2:1 instruction at a coach’s ‘home’ facilities with clients who keep their horses on site would be acceptable provided COVID practices are observed. Coaches should also check with their insurance provider before undertaking any activities.
  • Non-essential retail businesses and venues, including leisure and sports facilities, have been ordered to close, and equestrian arenas and riding centres are included in the list. Private facilities, such as those at your yard, can be used in order to exercise horses for their welfare where necessary. No hire of facilities is permitted and travelling horses should only be on welfare or veterinary grounds.
  • Only elite training and competition may continue.

These restrictions are currently set to be reviewed on 15th February.

Further information

For further information about how these restrictions impact equestrian activity in England, please visit the Guidance for England page on our Coronavirus Hub.

Helpful websites:

GOV.UK – National lockdown: Stay at home – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

GOV.UK – National lockdown guidance document – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/949536/NationalLockdownGuidance.pdf

Sport England advice – https://www.sportengland.org/news/what-new-national-lockdown-means-sport-and-physical-activity-england

 

CEO Comment

British Equestrian Chief Executive Iain Graham commented; “While tightened restrictions aren’t the way we wanted to start the New Year, the nationwide lockdown is clearly needed to get the virus under control and protect our medical services. I call on everyone in our equestrian community to once again to play their part, adhere to the guidance and follow the message to ‘stay at home’ where possible, but of course without compromising your own or your horse’s welfare.

“We should all be vigilant, stick closely to social distancing and hand and respiratory hygiene guidance, and minimise contact where we can as we continue to act responsibly. There is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully it won’t be long before we can get back to some sense of normality with businesses and livelihoods able to get back on track, and all of us enjoying our horses to the full, but we have a few more sacrifices to make on our way there. Thank you to all of you for your continued support, patience and determination, and please stay safe.”

Further information

For further information and support, please visit our Coronavirus Hub.


Posted on December 9th, 2020

Baileys and World Horse Welfare Join Forces

Baileys Horse Feeds are to partner with, World Horse Welfare, in a three-year deal which will see Baileys supporting the equine charity’s UK rescue and rehoming centres, with feed and nutritional advice.  The two organisations got talking, earlier this year, after Baileys delivered a donation of four tonnes of feed to the charity’s UK headquarters, in Norfolk. 

“We realised we have so many shared values and beliefs that it made sense to explore how we could work together,” explains Baileys Business Development Manager, Graham Rice.

As well as helping feed the equines at World Horse Welfare’s four rescue and rehoming centres, in England and Scotland, Baileys aim to work with the charity to help educate horse owners on practical equine nutrition and how to keep their horses and ponies in healthy condition.

“There is so much synergy between our two organisations,” says Deputy Chief Executive, Tony Tyler. “For example, our “Right Weight” campaign and Baileys’ Equine Weight Loss Programme are singing very much from the same hymn sheet and we’re looking forward to collaborating on these and other projects as the partnership develops.”


Posted on November 26th, 2020

BEF update: Activity in England post-lockdown

The government announced details of the revised three tier alert system for England earlier today and which areas would fall into each tier. The positive news is that equestrian activity can largely continue within number and setting restrictions based on the area’s tier level. Current lockdown restrictions remain in place until 00.01 on Wednesday 2 December and should be followed until then.

Overview of the tiers and how it relates to equestrianism

Tier 1 – Medium alert

  • organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue (Please note, the use of indoor/covered arenas for equestrian activity has previously been classified as outdoor activity in England and Scotland)
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, if the rule of six is followed. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • if you live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey.

 

Tier 2 – High alert

  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue (Please note, the use of indoor/covered arenas for equestrian activity has previously been classified as outdoor activity in England and Scotland)
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can’t socialise with other households indoors
  • you can meet in a group of up to six outside – including in a garden, or a public place
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.

 

Tier 3 – Very High alert

  • leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place (Please note, the use of indoor/covered arenas for equestrian activity has previously been classified as outdoor activity in England and Scotland)
  • you can’t mix with other households indoors, or in private gardens and pub gardens
  • you can meet in a group of up to six in other outdoor spaces, such as parks, beaches or countryside
  • avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey. You may travel out of a tier 3 area for individual exercise.

 

In all tiers, all equestrian facilities, yards and centres can open for lessons, hire and competitions. Horse owners and guardians can travel to care and exercise horses without restriction including travelling horses away from the yard for exercise, training/lessons, hire or competition. Hacking on a social basis should only be done within the rule of six. Where possible, travel into and out of tier three should be avoided.

 

In all tiers, coaches and equestrian practitioners can continue to operate within COVID protocols and risk assessments for the provision of a safe workplace. Travel is permitted between tiers but please observe the requirements of the tier you live in.

Check what tier your area has been placed in by postcode here. Link: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

BEF Chief Executive Iain Graham commented; “While coming out of lockdown in England will enable much of our activity to continue, we must continue to remain vigilant and strictly follow all COVID protocols and guidance in place at venues, in the workplace, on yards and in any areas you visit and at home.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel but we must all continue to play our part across the United Kingdom. So, be it in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, please enjoy your horses, carry out your work and open your businesses and centres of learning but please do it safely so we can avoid any further lockdowns in any areas.”

We published a guide to the help available for the self-employed and freelancers today to help this group who may have suffered under the restrictions hampering their ability to work.

 Useful links

GOV.UK – local restriction tiers: what you need to know

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know

GOV.UK – meeting others safely

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing

GOV.UK – local restriction post code checker

https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

 


Posted on November 13th, 2020

Covid Update: Defra clarification

BEF STATEMENT: We received an update late on Thursday from Defra and DCMS via the British Horse Council and British Horse Society following our combined request for clarification on the recent legislation concerning the National Restrictions now in force across England and how they impact on the training in the equestrian community.

 

The Defra Animal Welfare Team has now confirmed the following:

 

  • Riding centres/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 1-1 training sessions.
  • Employees of the riding centre may continue to visit the premises to maintain the property, and care for the animals located there, including to exercise them.
  • You can continue to attend a riding centre/school to care and exercise a horse where you are the owner, loaner or carer of that horse.
  • You may continue to exercise, including riding, 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 1-1 meeting with one other person you don’t live with.

 

This update is not what we had hoped as riding schools must close for recreational lessons and only those who provide formal education or training including training for regulated qualifications e.g. BHS stages 2 to 4 may remain open.

 

Those schools which are required to close are advised to contact their Local Authority for details of the business grants available where they must stop trading due to the legislation on national restrictions in England.

 

Thank you for your patience while this information was confirmed and we will continue to work on your behalf with our member bodies in the best interests for the industry and equine and human welfare.

 

Here’s a few FAQs to help for those based in England:

 

CAN I TRAVEL TO CARE FOR MY HORSE?

You can travel to care for and exercise a horse that you’re responsible for. However, you should limit the number of journeys that you make, and only under take essential travel.


HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I MEET WITH?

You can meet outdoors with one person from outside your household bubble or linked bubble.


WHAT ACTIVITIES CAN I DO WITH MY HORSE?

Horses may be ridden for exercise purposes only, including hacking and using a private arena at your yard. If you hack in outdoor public spaces, you may do so with members of your own household or one person from another household for exercise purposes.


CAN I TRAVEL MY HORSE FOR HACKING PURPOSES?

You may choose to travel your horse to make use of public open outdoor spaces where horses are permitted, such as common land or a beach, but should only do so if it’s necessary to meeting your horse’s welfare requirements.


CAN I TRAVEL MY HORSE TO A TRAINING VENUE?

Travelling to a venue and paying to ride on the premises, including farm rides, arena hire, cross-country courses and gallops, is not permitted and all venue hire should be suspended for the period of the lockdown. All competition and training activity organised under the auspices of our member bodies has been suspended until 2 December.


CAN I TRAVEL MY HORSE TO MY COACH FOR A LESSON?

At present, British Equestrian doesn’t have clear guidance from government in regards to whether you’re able to travel your horse to your coach’s yard. Therefore, we would not encourage you to do so. If you can justify your travel within the restrictions of the legislation and feel you can reasonably answer if stopped and challenged by the authorities, you must make your own decision on taking part.


WILL MY LIVERY YARD BE ABLE TO STAY OPEN?

Livery yards can remain open for horse owners, loaners and sharers to care for and exercise their horse. However, the yard owner or manager may choose to put additional restrictions or public health measures in place for your safety.


CAN EQUINE PRACTITIONERS VISIT MY HORSE?

Farriers, vets, dentists, physiotherapists, grooms and other equine practitioners can continue to operate, provided that they have COVID protocols and risk assessments in place to maintain safe working conditions. If you’re an equine practitioner and unsure about what you can and can’t do during lockdown, we recommend contacting your profession’s governing body.


I’M A COACH – AM I STILL ABLE TO WORK?

Coaches can continue to travel to work where they can’t work from home. Coaching only may take place on a one-to-one basis in public outdoor spaces.


I OWN A RIDING CENTRE – CAN I STAY OPEN DURING LOCKDOWN?

We now have confirmation that riding centres and schools must close for recreational lessons and only those who provide formal education or training including training for regulated qualifications e.g. BHS stages 2 to 4 may remain open.

If you are the owner, loaner or carer of a horse kept on riding centre or school premises, you can continue to attend a riding centre/school to care and exercise that horse.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT CURRENT COVID-19 LEGISLATION?

Further details about the national lockdown in England are available here.

 


Posted on November 10th, 2020

Joint statement: British Equestrian and British Horse Society

We understand how frustrating and conflicting some of the advice has been regarding the legislation for the current lockdown in England. Please be assured that the British Horse Society and British Equestrian (on behalf of their Member Bodies) are continuing to work on gaining further clarity regarding and what this means for our equestrian stakeholders.

Late on Friday afternoon Sport England relayed the information which had been provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) regarding the opening and use of equestrian facilities. However, over the weekend, we have raised concerns regarding the implication on horse welfare should riding schools be required to closed. We have asked Defra, via the British Horse Council, to clarify with DCMS, that riding schools should remain open to maintain horse welfare which includes care and exercise of all horses, and that this exercise may need to be supervised.

The areas which we are seeking clarity on:

  • The continuation of supervised ridden exercise of horses in a riding school setting where such exercise provides the level of care prescribed by animal welfare legislation
  • Exercise, ridden or otherwise, should only be undertaken in a safe location – which is often only available on the private property where the horse or pony is kept

 

Currently, providing COVID-19 protocols and social distancing are maintained, we know that:

  • Horses may be ridden for exercise, including travelling to exercise
  • You can travel to care and exercise a horse which you own or care for
  • Coaches can continue to travel to work where they can’t work from home
  • Livery yards can remain open for horse owners, loaners and sharers to care for and exercise their horse
  • Riding centres and schools may remain open and deliver formal education and training under the requirements of the legislation, and clients are permitted to travel to take part
  • Farriery, veterinary, dentistry, physiotherapy and other equine practitioners can continue to operate

It has been confirmed that you cannot:

  • Travel to a venue and pay to ride on the premises e.g. farm rides, arenas, cross country courses, gallops etc. All venue hire should be suspended for the period of the lockdown

All advice and guidance is subject to change as and when government issues further details. This advice will be updated when further details are issued. Whilst this is the BEF and the BHS interpretation and advice we strongly recommend that you consult with both your insurance provider and local authority to help make the right decisions for your businesses and circumstances.


Posted on November 5th, 2020

BEF update: England lockdown – Revised

Please note: the guidance below was released on 5 November and subsequently updated on 6 November, changed text is indicated in bold/italics.

 

At midnight, England went into national lockdown for a four-week period until Wednesday 2nd December inclusive. While this lockdown is not as restrictive as conditions in March and April, the overall requirement is for people to stay at home except for work that can’t be carried out from home, education, exercise and recreation, medical reasons, caring for others, or essential shopping.

Following yesterday’s Commons vote to accept the legislation and the follow-up clarification from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Sport England, British Equestrian (BEF) can now outline what the lockdown means for the equestrian public in general.

 

While we have endeavoured to cover all points, and have sought and received further guidance from DCMS and Sport England, we are now seeking further clarity from Defra regarding some possible equine welfare issues within the guidance, which also includes establishing a final position on travelling horses for lessons/training and will advise further in due course. This guidance is our interpretation of the legislation working with government and our sporting bodies and is subject to change. All stakeholders should read any guidance and advice and ultimately make a decision based on what they feel is appropriate for their circumstances.

While we have endeavoured to cover all points, we are currently seeking further clarity from DCMS and Sport England regarding where coaches can teach pupils as the legislation cites ‘public outdoor places’ only. We have also sought guidance on travelling horses for lessons/ training and the hiring of arenas and other training facilities for exercise, and will advise further in due course.

Stables and horse care

Stables and riding centres

Initially, stables and riding centres had been identified as leisure facilities that should close, but through our work with the government alongside the British Horse Society (BHS), the British Horse Council (BHC) and the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS), these premises have now been removed from the legislation. However, these outlets may only stay open within the overarching legislation and requirements, with COVID-19 protocols, hygiene measures and risk assessments in place.

Riding centres and schools may remain open and deliver formal training and education under the requirements of the legislation, and clients are permitted to travel to take part. We would advise any facility to work with their local authority and insurance providers to operate within the best interests for their businesses.

Caring for horses

Under Exception 10 – Animal welfare in the legislation, it sets out that ‘it is reasonably necessary for people to leave or be outside their home:

  1. to attend veterinary services to seek advice about the health and welfare of a pet or other animal owned or cared for by that person, or for the treatment of such a pet or animal
  2. to attend to the care of or exercise of a pet or other animal owned or cared for by that person.’

This means you may leave home to care for your horse(s) and ride them for exercise purposes, but journeys should be as short and infrequent as possible. We would advise that you work with your yard owner/manager closely, and follow their guidance and wishes. During lockdown, it’s worth looking at a buddy system or allocating time slots to minimise journeys and avoid interaction/contact with others.

Riding and exercise

You are permitted to leave home for outdoor exercise on your own or with members of your household (own or linked), or one other person who is not a member of your household in a public outdoor place.  In terms of riding, we would advise that this is done for exercise purposes only and should ideally start and end at the yard where the horse is kept. Public outdoor places include open country, access land as detailed in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, public roads and Crown land where access is permitted, which means that hacking is allowed.

We don’t have any definite clarification around travelling your horse to a public outdoor place such a park, forest or beach for exercise (where horses are permitted), but it should be possible if done on safety and welfare grounds. It’s worth consulting your local authority or the land owners before doing so.

If you have an arena at your yard, you may continue to use it, subject to social distancing and number restrictions. You may travel your horse a short distance to use a private arena for exercise purposes also.

 

Facility hire

The external hire of equestrian facilities is not permitted under the legislation so you may not travel to a venue and pay to ride on the premises (arenas, farm tracks, gallops, jumps, cross country schooling, etc.).

Venues which normally offer this service should suspend hire for the duration of the lockdown.

 

Equine support services

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and British Equestrian Veterinary Association (BEVA) are advising their members to provide treatment that’s deemed essential for maintaining animal health and welfare, in addition to some non-urgent work where safe working and social distancing measures can be maintained.

Farriers are also being advised that they can continue to work in order to meet welfare needs of equines, but safe working practices must be strictly adhered to by both client and farrier.

Equine dentists and physiotherapists may continue to operate during lockdown, provided that COVID-19 protocols are in place.

Agricultural supply shops are permitted to remain open, so the feed, bedding and equipment supply chain will continue to function.

Competition and training

All competition and organised training under the auspices of our Member Bodies has been suspended for the duration of the lockdown. We would strongly advise all competition taking place outside regulated body control to also be suspended, and for riders not to support any shows for the period of lockdown.

Training activity can be interpreted as riding for the purpose of exercise, and is listed for one of the permitted reasons for travelling, but must follow the legislation requirements around travel, location and numbers who can meet.

There are also exemptions in place for elite athletes to continue to train, and the riders on the World Class Performance Programme have been made aware of their restrictions and responsibilities.

Coaches

Coaches may continue to operate under the legislation, which states that they may leave home for work where they can’t provide their services from home. Sessions should be delivered on a one-to-one basis and coaches should ensure that they comply with the relevant National Governing Body’s safeguarding policy and procedures. Coaches should conduct a thorough risk assessment before each session, with particular consideration for any lessons with under-18s and vulnerable adults. There isn’t a limit on the number of sessions a coach may provide each day.

Clients travelling to a coach’s base with their own horse(s) for one-to-one lessons could be covered under the legislation, which states you may travel ‘for education or training purposes’. However, there is no definitive guidance on this and it’s down to individual to make their own decision.

We would advise coaches intending to continue operating in England, both in person and using virtual provisions, to consult with their insurance providers in order to make sure that their cover is in place as normal during the lockdown period.

CEO comment

Iain Graham, Chief Executive of British Equestrian commented: “While this lockdown may be less restrictive than before, the overarching message is that we must play our part by staying at home where possible, minimising contact with others and acting in a COVID-safe way at all times. We’ve worked hard with government, in conjunction with our Member Bodies, to get to a position that upholds the aim of the lockdown but still enables the equestrian sector to function in the best interests of horse welfare and the livelihoods of all involved.

“The removal of stables and riding centres from the list of venues that should close during lockdown has to be counted as a small victory for us all, and shows the power of what can be achieved when we speak with one voice. I thank the teams in the BHS, ABRS, BHC and a number of other Member Bodies for their help and support, and we’ll all work with our stakeholders to run what activity we can safely and within the legislation.

“As ever, giving clear advice is a challenge because much is open to interpretation but, ultimately, individuals and businesses must read the guidance and legislation, consult with the relevant organisations, and make a decision on what is right for them, and be prepared to answer any challenges from enforcement agencies, peers or clients. Thank you again for your support and patience.”

 

Useful links

GOV.UK – details of national restrictions in place – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Legislation.gov.uk – Full UK Statutory Instruments – https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1200/contents/made

Sport England – FAQs https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/return-play/frequently-asked-questions-about-second-national-lockdown


Posted on October 30th, 2020

Vets Urge Owners: Take Steps To Avoid Seasonal Firework Trauma

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is urging pet owners and livestock keepers who are worried about their animals’ welfare to take steps now to avoid possible injury and distress during traditional fireworks dates such as Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve.

The advice comes as vets say they are especially concerned there may be an increase in unregulated backyard fireworks this year as official displays are limited by Covid-19 restrictions.

Many animals have more acute hearing than humans, so the loud bangs and whistles – which at 150 decibels can be as loud as the noise from a jet engine – can cause significant distress and fear and lead to the development of phobia responses. Vets see first-hand the impact of firework-related distress in horses at this time of the year. In a survey conducted by BVA in 2018, around one in fourteen vets across the country reported seeing animals with firework-related injuries over the previous year, with equine vets significantly more likely to report such cases (19%).

By far the most commonly reported cases were self-injuries caused by fireworks-related anxiety, such as fractures in horses that had bolted from their fields or tooth injuries to dogs from chewing furniture. The negative impact isn’t restricted to noise levels – the debris and remnants of fireworks and paper lanterns in fields and surrounding countryside can also pose a serious risk of injury to livestock.

Read the full article in our November/December edition…


Posted on October 30th, 2020

Time It Right This Winter…Worm Control

Parasite life cycles are linked to the seasons, which is why one of the first rules of worm control is to consider the time of year, says Dr Wendy Talbot, National Equine Veterinary Manager at Zoetis.

During the late autumn and winter most parasites are entering a less active phase but encysted small redworm (ESRW) should still be on your radar. These are larval stages of the small redworm that have stopped developing inside the horse’s gut and started hibernating instead. High burdens of encysted small redworm can cause a condition known as larval cyathostominosis when they emerge from their hibernating state. The resulting diarrhoea, colic, and severe weight loss can be fatal, especially in young horses. This typically happens in the spring but in some cases can occur earlier in the winter period.

Read the full article in our November/December 2020 edition…


Posted on October 30th, 2020

Are Your Aware Of The Risks of Equine Herpes Virus?

Respiratory disease is one of the most significant causes of poor performance in sports horses and young horses are most susceptible to infection.

Respiratory diseases are highly contagious and can pass rapidly from horse to horse, especially when horses are mixing in close contact. Horses at greater risk are those who are regularly out and about at equine events and those at yards with frequent movement of horses, says Zoetis Vet Dr Wendy Talbot.

Flu isn’t the only infectious respiratory disease You are probably familiar with equine influenza, which can cause serious illness especially in unvaccinated, young or ill horses but there is another common infectious respiratory disease that you may not yet have heard about – Equine Herpes Virus (EHV).

Read the full article in our November/December 2020 edition.


Posted on October 30th, 2020

November 2020/December 2020

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