British Equestrian: COVID-19 Update
19 June 2020
While training and competition plans are in motion for many of British Equestrian’s Member Bodies in England, announcements by the devolved governments of Scotland (18 June) and Wales (19 June) have brought limited change to lockdown restrictions for equestrians.
In Scotland, the Route Map moves into phase two, which means three households can now meet outdoors. This now allows professional coaches and riding school instructors to deliver training to a maximum of two households per day. horsescotland and BHS Scotland have been working on industry guidance, which has been submitted for approval to sportscotand and the government.
The announcement today in Wales paved the way for sport to resume. However, with travel restricted to five miles and activity only permitted with members from your household or one additional household, sporting activity is limited to training at present. The announcement indicates that the ‘stay local’ requirement will be lifted on 6 July under the next release of information, while a review will take place on 9 July.
Member Body updates
A number of the British Equestrian Member Bodies covering competitive disciplines have announced details regarding a restart of action in England, and have launched plans outlining their ‘road maps’ to getting competitors back training and competing.
This is the current state of play across the Member Bodies (England only unless stated):
British Carriage Driving
Training underway, with the first national competition planned for 14 – 16 August.
Training in the English regions, and limited live and online training in Wales and Scotland. Online competitions operational for all and live competition planned to resume in England from 1 July.
British Equestrian Vaulting
Limited one-to-one training in England and Scotland (under the government guidance), and awaiting further government guidance on amateur team sports before competition can resume.
Regional training in place and plans for the resumption of competition have been approved by Sport England and DCMS, ahead of scheduled start of 4 July in England.
British Horseball Association
Limited one-to-one training, awaiting further government guidance on team sports.
No update at present – activity suspended.
Training underway and phase one of competition resumed on 15 June.
Training and small non-competitive events underway and awaiting further government updates for a July restart for larger non-competitive events and competitions.
Mounted Games Association of Great Britain
No training currently taking place, but working on middle to end of July for a resumption of competition.
Riding for the Disabled Association
Social distancing requirements are preventing most centres from resuming activity. The target is to have 20% of groups operating by the end of September and 60% by the end of the year.
The British Horse Society / British Riding Clubs
Training underway in England and Northern Ireland, and online competitions operational in all nations. Live competitions resume 1 July in England and Northern Ireland.
The Pony Club
Training and small rallies underway in England, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Northern Ireland, but only one-to-one coaching in Wales and Scotland within the five mile restriction. Online competitions operational for all nations and the anticipated start date for live competitions at local and interbranch level is 4 July.
The Showing Council
Working on an operational blueprint for the resumption of shows under government guidelines.
UK Polocrosse Association
Training underway in England with the hope that small competitions will be able to resume soon, in line with guidance for amateur team sports.
BEF Chairman Malcolm Wharton commented;
“Our Member Bodies have been working hard behind the scenes to get their disciplines ready to resume, but there are a number of challenges to overcome to make competition safe for all. The nature of each sport means some will be in a position to resume sooner than others, which I’m certain will be frustrating for competitors. However, please understand that your governing body is working on these plans with your safety in mind, and it’s crucial that all decisions are right and meet government requirements.
“Social distancing and gathering numbers are the main issues faced by equestrian sports, and we’re working with the Member Bodies and DCMS, Sport England and the Sport & Recreation Alliance to make the necessary arrangements. Information is exchanging daily and we hope to get a green light for eventing to resume very soon, closely followed by vaulting, endurance, mounted games and polocrosse, which are classed as team sports due to multiple participants and support staff.”