The Northern Ireland Executive has recently announced the removal of COVID restrictions.
The following information is provided as a guidance as it will be appropriate for participants and organisers of equine activities and events to consider measures that can be taken to minimise the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Riding schools/Equestrian centres
Both indoor and outdoor activities at riding schools and equestrian centres are permitted.
Consideration should, however, be given to the good practice guidelines outlined below:
If you are organising or operating an indoor or outdoor gathering, you are strongly recommend to carry out a risk assessment to decide the maximum number of people that should be permitted entrance.
A risk assessment should be completed for outdoor gatherings involving more than 30 people or indoor gatherings involving more than 15 people
You should take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
It is strongly recommended that, given the high transmission rates of the Omicron variant, individuals attending indoor or outdoor gatherings are encouraged to take a rapid lateral flow test before attending the indoor or outdoor gathering.
It is also recommended that attendees wear a face covering in any indoor public space, including when entering and leaving a venue or gathering, and for its duration.
It is important to maintain social distancing where possible and indoor spaces should be well-ventilated at all times. Good hygiene, including hand sanitising, is strongly recommended and venue operators should ensure sanitisation stations are widely available and regularly filled.
Equestrian events, training and horse racing
All outdoor equestrian competitions, training and horse racing events are permitted. A risk assessment must be completed where the number of persons gathering is greater than 30.
All indoor equestrian events are also permitted. The numbers permitted are determined by venue and subject to completion of a risk assessment where the number involved is greater than 15.
For details of the recommended actions to mitigate against the transmission of Covid-19, organisers of equestrian competitions, training and horse racing events should have regard to the guidance available on the Sport NI website available at the following link Return To Sport | Sport NI
Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning
Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning (EATL) can take place on an indoor and outdoor basis.
Where EATL takes place indoors, the numbers permitted is determined by venue and is subject to completion of a risk assessment where the number of persons involved is greater than 15. Where outdoor EATL activities are undertaken a risk assessment must be completed where the number of participants is greater than 30. Again, all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19 should be taken.