Government U-Turn on Indoor Riding Arenas

Equestrian businesses have been dealt a blow by the Government which has decided not to allow indoor riding arenas to reopen on March 29th, despite previously agreeing that well-ventilated venues could open to the public. The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has expressed its dismay about this change in legislation in a statement.

British Equestrian has been made aware that the recent legislation published by the Government now states that indoor riding arenas in England should close and will not be permitted to open on Monday March 29th in line with other outdoor sports facilities. This contravenes the agreed position achieved through collective work by British Equestrian, our member bodies, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) prior to the resumption of activity at the end of the first lockdown in 2020.

The following wording was included in the coronavirus regulations, but has since been removed.

…venues which includes the use of large, open and well-ventilated equestrian covered arenas (these are sometimes termed ‘indoor’ arenas by equestrians, but due to their size and ventilation are not considered indoor for the purposes of this guidance)

The BEF has raised this as a matter of urgency with Sport England, DCMS and Defra, stating that the change is neither justified nor reasonable, “particularly at such short notice”.

This is a reminder that all industries have been hard hit by lockdowns, including those usually overlooked by Government officials and the media.