BD update: indoor arena clarification for England

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 21:28

Following consultation with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, British Equestrian has released a further update on activity using indoor schools in England.  As a result, British Dressage has no option but to cancel all scheduled competitions using indoor facilities for able bodied adult riders until 11 April 2021 in England, although certain exemptions apply for under 18, Para and elite riders.

Venues will be able to use indoor arena facilities for BD organised competitions from 12 April onwards, subject to the government confirming the move into Step Two of the roadmap to relax restrictions.  This will be for individual sport activity only, as households will still not be able to mix indoors until after 17 May.

It has been clarified that for Step One, from 29 March, indoor riding arenas can only be used for British Dressage competitions or training under these specific exceptions:

  • Organised disability sport, including Para Equestrian activity
  • Supervised sport and physical activity for Under 18s, limited to 15 participants
  • Elite sports people, restricted to athletes on the World Class Programme (P1 and P2)

Unfortunately unless providing organised sport or training for the purposes listed above, indoor facilities should remain closed for BD activity during Step One.  Any scheduled competitions or training for our Para community, under 18 riders or elite athletes can continue as planned, but all other shows must operate using outdoor arenas only for both competition and warm up purposes during this period.

The owner of a horse kept at a riding centre may still use indoor facilities for welfare and exercise purposes, while employees of a riding centre are also permitted to continue accessing indoor arenas to care for and exercise horses, or to provide veterinary services.

In addition, indoor arenas can continue to be used for any activities that form part of the core curriculum of formal education or for professional / work-related training and development.

When we move to Step Two, provisionally from 12 April, indoor riding arenas may be used by individual households or bubbles, which will allow competitions to take place inside.  Those working in a professional capacity are exempt from restrictions on numbers, which includes judges, writers and operational staff.  From 12 April onwards, indoor arenas should only be used by individual riders participating in competitions, with no mixing of households.  Indoor facilities are therefore not suitable for use as warm-up arenas, unless operating on a one-in-one-out basis.

BD Chief Executive Jason Brautigam said; “We understand and share the sense of disappointment and frustration that will come from this decision by government.  Unfortunately with the legislation now defining what classes as indoor facilities there is no room for manoeuvre and we have to follow the letter of the law.  We hope that this will only be a temporary set-back to our resumption plans, with competitions able to restart indoors from 12 April.  At least we still have outdoor activity back up and running in England and Scotland, so this is just a short-term delay until venues can again operate fully.  In the meantime, we will keep lobbying on behalf of BD members and stakeholders to ensure that our sport can get back on track at the earliest possible opportunity.”