An agreement between Britain’s lead equestrian sports body and the government over the use of indoor and covered arenas when the country’s sports facilities reopen appears to have come unstuck.
British Equestrian (BE) said legislation published by the government on Friday states that indoor riding arenas in England should close and will not be permitted to open on Monday, March 29, in line with other outdoor sports facilities.
The federation had agreement with the government that “venues which include 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).”
It had worked on the position with its member bodies, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) before the resumption of activity at the end of the first lockdown in 2020.
“The above wording was introduced into the legislation, and equestrian activity and sport was able to resume under strict Covid protocols to ensure the safety of all participants without issue. The wording has been removed from the legislation published today,” BE said.
The organisation has raised the issue as a matter of urgency with Sport England, DCMS and Defra for clarification.
“This change in situation is not justified or reasonable, particularly at such short notice. We know there will be a degree of frustration throughout the industry at this development, but we will continue to represent collective interests of the equine sector in England for a solution.”