With British Dressage (BD) re-starting organised and in-person flexi-training in England in June, and with some competition hoped to re-start in July, many riders will be looking forward to getting back in the dressage arena with their horse. But in this new age of social distancing to help curb the spread of coronavirus, there are several important points to remember if you’re considering travelling your horse to a BD venue or coach for training or competition this summer.
1. Only travel to train, or later down the line compete, on your own, or with members of your own household. This may mean making difficult decisions regarding the care of children or animals, so ensure you make your plans carefully.
2. Plan your journey to minimise travel time and stops along the way — consider using the same service station each time to refuel.
3. Pack your own food and enough refreshments to last you the day — invest in a refillable water bottle and large flask so you aren’t tempted to make that coffee stop en route.
4. Venues should make sure hand washing facilities with soap and water are easily available — don’t forget to use them! Wash your hands thoroughly on arrival at the venue and before leaving. It’s also a good idea to carry hand sanitiser with you, with a minimum of 60% alcohol content, and use it throughout your time at the venue.
5. Consider the venues you plan to attend, whether it is to train or compete. Try to stick to those centres that you are familiar with, as close to home as possible, in order to limit travel, and try to familiarise yourself in advance with social distancing measures in place at that particular venue.
6. Make sure all bookings and payments are done over the phone or online — avoid handling cash to minimise the risk of spreading infection.
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7. If you have been advised by the doctor that you are at increased risk from coronavirus, or you have been asked to self-isolate, don’t travel to attend lessons or competitions until given clearance from the government. The same goes for anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19, or who thinks they may have been exposed to the virus.
8. Don’t forget to maintain careful social distancing throughout your time attending training, or competitions. This means staying at least 2m away from anybody who is not from your household – including your trainer.
While in-person training is being re-introduced across English regions in June, at the time of writing only judge training via online platform has been reinstated in Scotland and Wales. Riders in Northern Ireland should refer to guidance issued by Dressage Ireland.
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