Coronavirus (COVID-19) info
Updated: 21 May 2020, 17.24
Action: Link to BEF statement added
We'll post all the latest statements, important links and advice here in one info hub for members to keep up-to-date.
Thank you for your continued support of British Dressage, it really is appreciated during these challenging times. If we continue to stand together, remain strong and continue our sense of community, we’ll protect the sport we love and ensure we have a viable future. In the meantime, our message to all members is stay safe, stay at home and save lives.
Important BD links:
21 May 2020
Further to the guidance released by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 13 May and British Equestrian’s subsequent statement on Friday 15 May, equestrian activity may resume in an outdoor environment only in England. Current lockdown restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland restrict riding for exercise and preferably within the boundaries of where the horse is kept.
16 May 2020
To help everyone participate safely in the current situation, we've put to together toolkits for our stakeholders to use that provide advice and guidance on operational procedures, social distancing measures and public health and hygiene regulations, to help assist everyone in their roles. We have a Standard Operating Procedure document which covers everyone and then specialist guidance for organsers and venues, judges and coaches. We'll be producing others before competition gets underway. Please feel free to read them all so you understand what's required of you and what to expect of others.
15 May 2020
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issued further guidance on 13 May regarding outdoor facilities, as a follow-on from the government’s revised policy on exercise. This advice permits venues that provide outdoor sports and physical activities to reopen in England.
14 May 2020
BD Members' COVID-19 update
FAQ document updated
Revised content to reflect operational plan and recent government updates.
13 May 2020
BD Operational Plan update
Further to the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday and subsequent release of their recovery strategy in response to the COVID-19 crisis, British Dressage is now in a position to update members on what this means for our sport.
12 May 2020
BEF statement: stance on riding reviewed
Following the UK Prime Minister’s broadcast on Sunday 10 May, the Board of British Equestrian (BEF) has convened to discuss their position on riding and training in the current coronavirus pandemic. Although the crisis remains at stage four, according to the government’s COVID Alert Levels, the spread of the virus is under control and the peak has now passed. While there has been no major relaxation of lockdown restrictions, the government did announce some changes that enable us to review our advice for the equestrian sector.
07 May 2020
BD Coronavirus Operational Plan - the roadmap for resumption of activity
The pandemic is far from over, but with restrictions set to be eased over coming weeks, BD has been planning and preparing for the time when it’s appropriate to recommence riding, training and competing. Today we released our plans in full - or there's a summary of the important points.
BD/BS joint release
British Dressage (BD) and British Showjumping (BS) detailed why they now have the opportunity to release outline plans for the resumption of sporting activity, when it is safe to do so.
28 April 2020
The BEF has issued a statement on consultation work with the Olympic and Paralympic governing bodies on financial stability and sporting resumption.
23 April 2020
A message to the British Dressage community from BD Finance Director, Caroline Godfrey
14 April 2020
The most recent update from the British Equestrian Federation including details of the British Equestrian Veterinary Association's new guidance for vets.
09 April 2020
Update for the dressage community from Jason Brautigam, BD CEO
All members were emailed an update on the evening of 8 April to provide a update from CEO Jason Brautigam on British Dressage's current position on the COVID-19 pandemic. Key areas covered: organisational update, sport operations and membership & horse registrations. It opens:
"It’s been three weeks since I last wrote to you, and what a surreal and uncertain time it has been. Our priority over this initial period has been to focus on the welfare of everyone involved in our sport, as well as making sure that we were all adhering to the government guidance and advice, which is now simple: ‘stay safe, stay at home, save lives’."
02 April 2020
The British Equestrian Federation has today issued a further update of information and advice on the current coronavirus pandemic for its stakeholders.
BEF Vaccination update
The British Equestrian Federation, in conjunction with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), has approved a proposal regarding the vaccination schedule for equine influenza in competition horses competing under its member bodies. The move has been made in order to help riders, owners and vets tackle the significant logistical challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and provide clarity for all.
01 April 2020
The current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has had a significant impact on the equestrian sector. 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.
Joint BD and BS update
The status of the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve in the UK and recent government briefings indicate that a longer period of lockdown is looking increasingly likely. Having individually reviewed the likely impact that this will have on the events calendar over the next two months, British Dressage (BD) and British Showjumping (BS) have taken the decision to extend the suspension period for all affiliated competitions, training and participation activities up to and including 31 May 2020.
Both organisations will continue to monitor developments and take action if there is a relaxation in restrictions which could enable activity to resume before this date, as long as it is safe to do so and within any parameters imposed by the government. While we do not envisage an early resumption of competitions and events at this stage, due to ongoing social distancing measures, we will review this regularly in order to provide members with sufficient notice before any restart.
With calendars now suspended until the end of May, both BD and BS have taken action to minimise costs and limit operational overheads. This includes reducing staffing levels significantly in both organisations, in accordance with the furloughing provisions of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. A skeleton team will remain in place across all departments in both organisations, with employees continuing to work remotely to maintain service and support levels to members.
BD and BS continue to ask all members and stakeholders to strictly adhere to the government guidance, particularly on avoiding non-essential travel and unnecessary social contact, to assist in halting the spread of the virus and protect frontline emergency services staff. This includes advice on caring for your horse during the current crisis.
This does not include any provision for ‘virtual’ remote training or competitions and we do not support or endorse any such activity while we are still in the emergent phase of the outbreak.
The Government has not issued any restrictions on riding, but we would continue to urge all members to act responsibly and consider the associated risks carefully before determining whether it is necessary to ride. The equestrian community fully supports the efforts of the health and emergency services – and we do not want to put further pressure on the NHS at this critical time, when they are already working at full capacity to combat the virus.
BD Chief Executive Jason Brautigam said; “The response we have received so far has been extremely positive, with a huge sense of solidarity from our members. Everyone has united in supporting the government restrictions and guidelines, and understanding about our decisions to cancel activity. Although an extension of our suspension period is very disappointing for all concerned, we hope that this clarification will give our stakeholders a clearer timeframe to manage their horses and competition aspirations. Some hard decisions have had to be made, including those which will impact significantly on the BD team, but I continue to be proud of the efforts that everyone is making to protect the future of our organisation and sport.”
Iain Graham, BS Chief Executive, added; “Suspending our sport and activity for the next two months is without doubt the correct thing to do with the crisis that is affecting the country at the moment. In taking this action it will also allow for members and stakeholders to plan accordingly whether it be around the welfare of their horses, businesses, family or personal situations as we adapt to life as it currently is.
On behalf of myself and the rest of the BS Board I would like to convey our thanks for the ongoing member, sponsor, stakeholder and staff support we have received; it has been quite overwhelming. Also for the ongoing support of the government efforts that everyone is making to minimise the spread of the virus and the resulting pressure on the NHS.”
We want to support all stakeholders through the lockdown period and there is help and advice available on subjects like preventing the spread of the virus, the financial assistance available, keeping active in lockdown in line with the restrictions and your mental wellbeing. Suggested links include:
27 March 2020
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is constantly changing and evolving with advice and help from the UK Government issued daily. Over the last 48 hours there have been a number of developments which we wanted to update stakeholders on.
Government help for the self-employed
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his eagerly awaited support package yesterday which will benefit a number of equestrian sector workers. In simple terms:
- The government will pay the self-employed a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years up to £2500 per month
- The grant will be available for three months and will be extended if necessary
- People can claim these grants and continue to do business
- The aim is to pay at the beginning of June (three months backdated) directly into your bank account.
The grants will be available to anyone who meets all the criteria:
- Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
- Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
- File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional four weeks from this announcement to do so;
- Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
- Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
- Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
- Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.
What do you need to do to access a grant?
HMRC will contact you directly and you’ll have to fill out a form to indicate your business has been impacted by the pandemic.
Businesses set up since April 2019 won’t be eligible as there will be no filed tax return on record. For these new start-ups, there is other help available such as Universal Credit if you hold savings below £16,000 and business continuity loans where they have a business bank account.
Further information and details of the scheme will be released shortly by HMRC and we’ll pass on any relevant information.
Further details can be found on GOV.UK
The government has launched a free to use Whatsapp service to push out their official advice and help with the most commonly asked questions around coronavirus.
To get started, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
British Equestrian Trade Association advice
A number of British Equestrian Trade Association members are reporting high levels of buying of feed and bedding, almost to panic buying status. The message is very much that supply level is more than adequate if consumers continue to buy reasonably.
The sector is viewed as ‘essential industry’ so can continue running as normal under the current restrictions. Feed and bedding manufacturing is working as normal on the whole so the supply is in place to meet demand – there’s enough to go around if you buy sensibly.
British Equestrian Veterinary Association (BEVA)
BEVA has issued guidance for the veterinary profession on the level of service they should be offering so horse owners can be clear on the position. In a bid to protect human health and follow the government recommendations, they will work towards maintaining as 24-hour emergency service only. This means they are advising all non-essential and routine work to be stopped.
Vets are being asked to consider telephone and video consultations and where a physical examination is necessary, the owner/handler/trainer should declare they are free from coronavirus
BEVA is working with a number of other bodies on the status equine influenza booster vaccinations as this will have an impact on horses in competition and racing. An update will be issued next week on the position.
Routine stud and reproductive work is being looked at for further guidance.
British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA)
The BFBA has issued guidance to its members in consultation with BEVA, World Horse Welfare and The Horse Trust. Farriery is considered essential work and they have introduced a traffic light system to help with which appointments to attend. Non-crucial hoofcare should be avoided if there is no risk of long term effects, where horses require time-sensitive appointments on welfare/soundness issues consideration should be given as advisory hoofcare and then where by not attending there may be serious detrimental effects on the horse, defined as crucial hoofcare.
Farriers have been instructed to:
- Call ahead to verify that no one present is ill or has been in contact with anyone who is ill.
- No more than one owner or carer should be in attendance at appointments and should tie the horse up and then immediately move away to a safe distance
- Observe the current coronavirus hygiene guidance.
A number of horse owners are considering ‘roughing off’ horses with their farrier’s advice and this may require moving horses to different locations. We would advise that, on welfare grounds, this would be permissible as in the long run it would lessen journeys and contact. Please ensure you maintain the two metre rule and only have two people maximum involved in the move.
Government has not issued any restrictions on riding but we would continue to urge everyone to carefully consider the risks and what is ‘essential’ and not ride. The emergency and health services are working at full capacity to combat the virus and as a community we shouldn’t add to that burden. If you choose to ride, we’d strongly suggest avoiding activity with heightened risk and keeping to your own property.
The BEF will continue to provide regular updates as the situation is ever changing with new information, clarification and updates coming through. Here are some links from our colleagues you may find helpful:
25 March 2020
Joint BD and BS update
Monday’s UK Government announcement to increase measures to combat the current coronavirus pandemic has effectively put the nation in lockdown until mid-April. As National Governing Bodies, British Dressage (BD) and British Showjumping (BS) continue to urge all members and stakeholders to adhere to this guidance and advice, particularly on social distancing, in order to help contain the spread of the virus and protect frontline staff in the emergency services.
As previously stated on 17 March, all affiliated BD and BS competitions, events and training activities are suspended up to and including 16 April. This time period falls in line with the Government’s three week period of lockdown. This will continue to be monitored closely and reviewed on a regular basis.
Major dates for National and Regional competitions take a great deal of planning, organisation and financial outlay. It is important that we continue to make timely decisions on whether these need to be cancelled or postponed, to allow enough notice for all participants as well as minimising costs for venues. In consultation with our organisers, we can now announce the following key fixtures have been cancelled across the two disciplines:
- Keysoe Premier League, 24 – 26 April (BD)
- Senior Inter Regionals and Para Home International at Keysoe, 2 – 3 May (BD)
- Addington Premier League, 8 – 10 May (BD)
- Royal Windsor Horse Show, 13 – 17 May (BD and BS)
- Wellington International, 19 – 21 May (BS)
- Somerford Park Premier League, 22 – 24 May (BD)
- Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show, 9 – 14 June (BD and BS)
- Hickstead International, 24 – 27 June (BD)
- Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting at Hickstead, 24 – 28 June (BS)
- Wettenhall International at South View EC, 2 – 5 July (BS)
For any competition or training events that have been cancelled to date, please allow up to 28 days for refunds to be processed as there is a significant volume to get through.
We will provide further updates on the cessation of regular competitions and training activity in due course, based on the latest government advice, with a view to extending the current suspension on a rolling four week basis.
BD Chief Executive Jason Brautigam said; “I’d like to thank all our members for their support during these uncertain and challenging times. Our priority has to be supporting the management of the pandemic by taking socially responsible action to contain further spread of the virus. Understandably members will be disappointed with these cancellations – and, at this stage, it’s too early to determine what competitions could potentially be rescheduled or when the sport is able to resume.
We’ll keep everyone updated regularly on our contingency plans as the lockdown continues, so activity can restart as and when the restrictions are lifted. However, realistically this could continue for some time yet, so in the meantime we all have a role to play in adhering to social distancing measures and following the official advice on horse care during this difficult period.”
Iain Graham, BS Chief Executive, added; “The showjumping community has been incredibly supportive and we’re grateful for their backing, despite facing their own challenges, as we all work to combat the virus. Making any decision to cancel events is always difficult, but we have to help our organisers and venues to stay solvent so that the resources and facilities are there when sporting action can resume. I would urge everyone to strictly follow the government guidelines, as we all want our sport, livelihoods and daily lives to return to normal as quickly as possible.”
The Meriden headquarters for both organisations is now closed, with all staff working remotely to provide a normal service to members. Staff can be contacted in the usual manner by phone or email. Please note that BD’s online shop is closed until further notice as orders cannot currently be fulfilled.
There is an array of advice available to help our stakeholders manage the current crisis. Here are some useful links that contain relevant information:
- UK Government response and advice
- Business support available from the government
- Advice on caring for horses and riding
- Advice on staying active while at home
- Looking after mental health
The staff of both BD and BS are always on hand to help via email or phone with any questions or advice that you might need. Both organisations will endeavour to keep members updated through all channels of communication, as the situation is constantly evolving and changing, so please check the BD / BS websites and social media platforms regularly.
24 March 2020
BEF advice on caring for horses and riding in the current climate
Helpful advice from the BEF for those concerned about caring for horses and riding following the government announcement on stricter social distancing measures on Monday 23 March.
23 March 2020
BEF update: Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and help available for equine industry businesses and employers
The BEF has today issued an update and also provided an extensive guide which details the range of financial help available to equestrian businesses, employees and the self-employed as a result of the pandemic.
20 March 2020
A message to the British Dressage community from Jason Brautigam, BD CEO
All British Dressage members have been emailed this evening with an update on the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic detailing our status, plans and news of an FAQ document to help stakeholders through these uncertain times.
These are unprecedented times we find ourselves in. The coronavirus pandemic will impact on all of us in so many ways; it is actually quite difficult to comprehend at this stage the long term implications this will have for society as a whole, let alone our sport.
While it is of course incredibly disappointing for everyone to have to suspend all dressage competitions, events and training activity for the foreseeable future, our primary concern has to be to the health and well-being of all of the sport’s participants, whether riders, trainers, owners, officials, organisers or supporters.
We all have a role to play in helping to assist in the containment and control of the virus, so we appreciate the understanding and support we have received from members this week after taking the difficult decision to shut down the sport for a four week period, until 16 April at the earliest.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the work and action gone into implementing the suspension and those who are already acting on the government advice on social distancing and non-essential travel. We know that many of you will have concerns about how this will impact on your livelihoods and businesses, let alone the sport itself, which puts everything into perspective at this challenging time.
Following the government advice earlier this week, the decision was taken to close the office from this evening – and as of Monday 23 March most employees will be working from home. There will be a skeleton staff at BDHQ Meriden in the short term to deal with post, shop orders, accessing documents, printing, filing and any other activities which can only be done in the office, but everything else will be managed remotely, using the technologies available.
Fortunately we have invested a significant amount in our IT over the past three years, so our new BD Online portal allows us to have remote access to our sport operations and membership systems. We are also connected through cloud based networks, file sharing and communication applications, while our telephony system is also a digital platform and can operate remotely. So, it will be ‘business as usual’ throughout the shutdown period and you will still be able to contact us by email and phone as normal.
Our teams will be working closely with their technical committees and regional representatives over coming weeks to ensure that we can hit the ground running when the sport is able to resume. We will look to reschedule any cancelled or postponed activities for later in the year; however, due to the ongoing uncertainty about how long any shutdown period is likely to last it is impossible to predict when these may be at present.
Quite what the remainder of the dressage calendar will look like, how the qualifications will work, what changes will need to be made to selection procedures, and so on, remains to be seen, but we will be working hard in the background on contingency plans, based on various different scenarios, so we’re in a strong position as soon as we get the green light.
During this time we will be continuing to work on a number of important projects, including our new judge education system, youth development pathways and online learning platforms for CPD and training activity, to ensure your sport is in great shape to come back to.
I’m sure you all have plenty of questions about how this is all going to affect you, so we’ve put together a fairly extensive document to give you as many answers as possible. With so much uncertainty over the timeframe for a return to normality, we certainly don’t have a solution for everything just yet. We’ll keep updating this document on the website as the situation evolves and are able to provide further information.
Please do stay in touch and let us know if you have any questions or feedback. You can continue to contact any of the team by email or phone.
We’ve set up a coronavirus hub on the website homepage with all our statements and key links for advice.
The most important consideration at this point in time is that you and your family come first. Please make sure to follow the latest government advice, remain active where you can and look after your physical and mental health. Stay positive and focus on your own well-being, as well as your loved ones, while we look after the sport and ensure it remains fit for the future.
We’ll keep information flowing via our digital channels and do our best to keep you up to date on any developments. In the meantime, please stay safe everyone.
CEO, British Dressage
17 March 2020
Joint Statement: British Dressage and British Showjumping
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
In light of yesterday’s UK Government advice on the risks to public health presented by the coronavirus, British Dressage (BD) and British Showjumping (BS) have taken a number of decisions around sporting and training activities for the next four week period, up to and including 16 April.
These have been informed by the strong recommendations around social distancing, non-essential travel and public gatherings, taking into account the severity of the current situation and our responsibilities as National Governing Bodies to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all of our sport’s participants, as well as the wider implications for society as a whole.
The challenges faced by our community, regions and venues are unprecedented, so we have made these decisions in the interest of public health and to reduce any burden on our health and emergency services. We also have a duty of care to all of our stakeholders, whether riders, trainers, owners, officials, organisers or supporters, as well as a societal responsibility towards the containment and control of the coronavirus.
Both BD and BS hope that our actions go some way to removing the current uncertainty and enable our stakeholders to prioritise their personal health and well-being at this difficult time. We will be continuing to monitor the situation closely and will aim to issue regular updates in line with UK Government, Public Health England and NHS advice.
· All national activities will cease with immediate effect, with all regional activities to support competition, training, coaching and exams that are currently scheduled permitted to continue until close of business on Thursday 19 March.
· This will include the cancellation of the following major events across our two disciplines:
- British Showjumping Spring Championships at Addington, 26 – 29 March (BS)
- British Dressage Young Horse Forum at Myerscough, 27 March (BD)
- Blue Chip Winter Championships at Hartpury, 1 – 5 April (BS)
- NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships incorporating the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships at Hartpury College, 8 – 12 April (BD)
- Pony of the Year Show at Arena UK, 9 – 13 April (BS)
- National Judges Convention at Addington, 14 April (BD)
We are working with organisers around the policy and procedures for issuing refunds for the above events, so please bear with us, but we will endeavour to communicate more details and timeframes as soon as possible.
· In both disciplines, our staff, Directors, technical committees and relevant parties will be reviewing the impact on the sporting calendar as a result of these cancellations and any subsequent qualifications and selection. This will of course be dependent on when dressage and showjumping is able to restart and plans will inevitably remain fluid until then.
We recognise that it is difficult for members to plan ahead for training, competition and qualification at this stage, but we will work hard to ensure that both organisations are in a strong position as and when the sports can resume.
· The Meriden headquarters for BD and BS will remain operational with skeleton staffing arrangements, while the majority of employees will be required to work from home from Monday 23 March onwards. Both organisations will continue to support members and stakeholders throughout and contact can be made as normal via phone or email.
British Dressage Chief Executive Jason Brautigam commented; “This is an exceptionally difficult decision, but the safety and wellbeing of all participants has to be our paramount consideration. As a society we must collectively work together to limit the spread of the virus – and based on the latest government and public health advice this has now become a matter of urgency. Thank you to all of our members, coaches, officials, organisers and volunteers for your support and understanding – by acting swiftly and responsibly to contain this virus we hope that our sport can resume again soon.”
British Showjumping Chief Executive Iain Graham said; “We trust everyone concerned understands that we all have a part to play in this global pandemic. Containing the virus and contributing to minimising the spread alongside not adding to an already stretched health and emergency services in tandem with doing the best to ensure safety of our community is the priority for us all at present. I would like to thank all of our members, officials and stakeholders in advance for their cooperation during these uncertain times. As we share a number of venues and our sports are similar in nature, we will continue to work with BD and constantly review the situation.”
BS and BD share a number of venues, as the two sports are similar in nature, so both organisations will continue to work together to review the situation and take action when required.
While suspending national sporting and training activity will inevitably impact on most participants, the elite athletes campaigning for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will continue to train and prepare as normal. British Dressage and British Showjumping will, in conjunction with the British Equestrian Federation and the National Lottery funded UK Sport World Class Performance Programme, continue to support them in any way possible towards their selection goals.
Both organisations will keep stakeholders updated through all channels of communication as the situation is constantly evolving and changing. Both BD and BS are currently in the process of compiling an FAQ document, which will be published on our websites to help members with any immediate concerns or questions they may have.
16 March 2020
BD coronavirus update
In light of today’s briefing by the Prime Minister and the advice provided by medical experts on the public health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, British Dressage will be reviewing the immediate impact on our activities, competitions and events as an urgent priority.
The senior management team has been working on contingency plans based on different scenarios over the past week and these will be presented to BD Board Directors tomorrow. An emergency Board Meeting has already been scheduled to discuss the wide-ranging implications for the sport in more detail and a formal announcement on our plans will be made on Wednesday morning.
We appreciate that the coronavirus outbreak will continue to be a major concern for everyone and will work swiftly to update our policies and guidance for organisers and venues over the next 24 hours. It is a hugely complex and ever-evolving situation and we need to ensure that we consider the impact on all of our stakeholder groups.
In the meantime, we would urge all of our members to heed the official advice, particularly for those who fall into any of the potential ‘high risk’ categories, including the elderly, pregnant women and those who have underlying health conditions.
13 March 2020
BD coronavirus update
British Dressage would like to reassure members that we are in close contact with our colleagues at UK Sport, Sport England, the Sport and Recreation Alliance and Sports Ground Safety Authority with regards to the ongoing risks and threats posed by the coronavirus outbreak. We are currently in the process of preparing contingency plans, based on the latest available information and government advice.
Yesterday the government announced that the status of the pandemic had moved from the ‘containment’ to the ‘delay’ phase. However, no restrictions have been imposed on public gatherings or sporting events at this stage and in his statement the Prime Minister stated: “It is very important that we are guided by the science. There is very little epidemiological or medical reason at the moment to ban events.”
All sporting activity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can therefore continue to operate as normal at the present time, although please note that Scotland have placed restrictions on public gatherings of more than 500 people with effect from Monday 16 March. Small scale equestrian activity can still continue as planned – and the vast majority of British Dressage shows, competitions and training events would fall into this category.
We are aware that some major sporting organisations, including the FEI, have announced temporary suspensions of their events until 3 April. However, these are either due to specific concerns about individual players or participants that have already come into direct contact with the virus, or international competition that requires travel to and from affected countries.
It is vitally important that we continue to follow government advice and at present there are no plans to cancel or postpone BD events, although this position may change as the situation evolves in the days and weeks ahead. This includes our Young Horse Forum at Myerscough on 28 March, the Winter Championships at Hartpury from 8-12 April and the Judges Convention at Addington on 14 April. We are monitoring the situation closely – and should the government advice or guidance change we will take action accordingly.
In the meantime, we advise all members to follow the general health advice provided by the NHS and Public Health England:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
• Use an alcohol based hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
• Always wash your hands when you get home, into work or on arrival at venues
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
• Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
• Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
• Avoid any close contact with people who are displaying symptoms or unwell
Anyone with a new continuous cough or high temperature, or displaying any other flu-like symptoms, should self-isolate for a minimum period of at least seven days.
Important links for information:
Current Foreign Office travel advice:
British Equestrian Federation continues to monitor coronavirus outbreak
The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) continues to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Britain and around the world. We continue to follow government advice and are working closely with our member bodies to implement any restrictions required, including any requirements for the staff within our organisations.
Following yesterday’s Government Cobra committee meeting, the Prime Minister announced the status of the pandemic had changed from the ‘containment’ phase to a ‘delay’ phase.
We advise everyone to continue to follow Government advice because this is a public health issue. Public Health England is the lead organisation and we urge our stakeholders to closely follow their guidance.
The latest guidance is that anyone with flu-like symptoms should self-isolate for at least seven days, even if those symptoms are mild. If symptoms remain mild, people do not need to call 111. Further details can be found on gov.uk.
At this time, over England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there are no plans are in place to suspend major public events or close schools. Therefore, there are no restrictions on equestrian sport or activity.
In Scotland, from Monday 16 March, all large gatherings above 500 people with the potential to impact the emergency services should be cancelled to prioritise the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, but normal, small scale activity can continue.
Some general tips to remember if you’re taking part in general or equestrian activity:
- Wash your hands more often than usual. Wash for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or with your sleeve if you don't have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Immediately wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products
- Be prepared to self-isolate – plan how it will impact on your day-to-day requirements
- Plan ahead for your situation, which might include alternative care for your horse if you need to self-isolate
- Use health services wisely
- Stay up-to-date with trusted sources of information
The British Horse Society has also published some useful advice for their Centres, but the recommendations are appropriate for any yard.
8 March 2020
BD statement: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
British Dressage's position on the outbreak of coronavirus and current advice is as follows. This will be updated as and when required.
We have been asked by a number of members what the official British Dressage position is on coronavirus. As things stand it continues to be business as usual, although we are in close contact with UK Sport, Sport England and the Sport & Recreation Alliance to ensure we act on the latest advice and guidance from the government.
In addition we are liaising with the BEF and FEI with regards to the impact of the outbreak on other infected countries and regions globally in order to advise riders how it may affect international competition and sporting events.
The situation continues to evolve, with 206 cases currently diagnosed with the virus in the UK out of 21,460 tested, as of Saturday 7 March.
However, we remain in the ‘containment’ phase and therefore the government advice is that there is no need to cancel or postpone sporting events at this time. It is possible that this may change as the outbreak develops, when we move into the ‘delay’ phase.
If you have any concerns, you should check regularly for updated government advice, which can be found on the gov.uk website. This includes information on the government’s action plan, which outlines the measures being taken to contain the virus.
There are some countries and areas where where is a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus. Please refer to the official government advice from the Foreign Office for more information before your decide to travel.
Category 1 areas most severely affected include China, Italy, Iran, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
If you have returned from these specific areas on or after 19 February 2020 you should self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and call the NHS 111 service to receive advice on what to do next.
Specific advice has also been provided by the NHS as follows:
Symptoms of Coronavirus
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an illness that can affect your lungs and respiratory system. Based on cases so far, the elderly and those with respiratory problems or a weakened immune system are most at risk.
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have the virus as they are similar to more common illnesses, such as the cold or flu. If you have recently returned from one of the infected regions, or have come into contact with someone who has visited the countries severely affected then you should contact NHS 111.
How coronavirus is spread
Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person. Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. It is very unlikely that it can be spread through things like packaging and food.
Do I need to avoid public places?
Most people can continue to go to work, school and attend other public places. You only need to self-isolate if advised to by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional. If you are feeling unwell with any of the symptoms outlined above, or fall into one of the high-risk categories, then please seek medical advice before travelling or deciding to attend public events.
How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, for at least 20 seconds on each occasion.
- Always wash your hands when you get into work or arrive home.
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands), when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose of used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands immediately afterwards. Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell or displaying any of the symptoms associated with the virus. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean.
Further updates will follow when we receive additional information or advice from the government and Public Health England.
5 March 2020
BEF statement: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is in constant contact with key partners such as UK Sport, the British Olympic Association, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, and the FEI to monitor the situation both in Britain and globally around the current Coronavirus outbreak.
We urge all stakeholders to follow Government advice and information, which is regularly updated on the GOV.uk website. For those with travel concerns, there is specific advice available here. The Government published their action plan on 3 March, which outlines the measures in force to contain the spread of the virus.
There is presently no rationale to close or cancel equestrian events, but this may change as the situation evolves. We would strongly recommend everyone in the equestrian community to follow the NHS guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus to help in the containment process.