14th July Update


26th May Update

13th May Update

As I am sure you will be aware, the First Minister provided an update on COVID-19 and related restrictions on Tuesday, highlighting restriction changes from 17th May.

These can be summarised as follows:

 Movement in Levels from Monday 17 May

  • Level 3: Moray is very likely to remain at Level 3. This decision will be confirmed at the end of the week.

  • Level 2: The rest of the mainland, Skye and some islands will move to Level 2 (The limit for gatherings inside private homes will match that for inside public places - 6 people from 3 households. No physical distancing will be required in homes and gardens.)

  • Level 1: Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles, the Highland islands with the exception of Skye, and the Inner Hebrides islands in Argyll will move to Level 1.


The intention remains for the country to move to Level 1 on 7 June, and Level 0 on 28 June, however Scottish Government will be reviewing this position in the coming weeks.

Please find attached an updated Return to Sport & Physical Activity guidance document which is effective from 17th May 2021. 

The key changes to note are:

  • Table A – ‘outdoor bubbles / participant maximum numbers’ now confirmed for Levels 0 - 2.  

           Level 3 – Bubbles of up to 30 with a maximum of 200 participants per day. 

           Level 2 – Bubbles of up to 50 with a maximum of 500 participants per day. 

           Level 1 – Bubbles of up to 100 with a maximum of 1000 participants per day. 

           Level 0 – Bubbles of up to 500 with no participant limit per day

Please Note: indoor bubbles/participant maximum numbers should be calculated by the facility operator based on Scottish Government guidance on the opening of sport and leisure facilities and its own risk assessment. 


  •  Definitions have been updated to include ‘competition’ and ‘events’.  There are additional requirements around ‘events’ with regular SGB/club competition following the Return to Sport and Physical Activity Guidance while other ‘events’ follow Scottish Government event guidance and requirements.

  •  Spectators are not permitted under Return to Sport guidance (only supervision) at this time.  Spectators are permitted at ‘events’ which meet Scottish Government Events guidance requirements.  We are currently in discussions with Scottish Government to ensure Return to Sport and Physical Activity guidance and Events Sector guidance align where possible.

The above is great news for the Scottish equestrian community and sees continued progression towards full resumption of activity. 


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

26th April Update

Today sees some very long awaited normality resume to life in general. 


From today, all restrictions for travel around Scotland, and across Britain, are lifted, including for sport and physical activity.


With mainland Scotland moving universally to Level 3, this sees 'field of play' bubbles increase to 30 and we await confirmation from sportscotland around increased event numbers for Levels 0-2.  As soon as we have this information we will provide further update.  It is anticipated that the vast majority of Scotland will move to Level 2 from Monday17th May and to Level 1 from Monday 7th June.  The expectation is that later in June Level 0 will be achieved.


Again, I would like to extend thanks to horsescotland member bodies, venues, participants and to everyone within our Scottish equestrian community that has worked with our Equestrian Guidance throughout.  It has been hard going, but today sees us emerge into sunlight from what has been a very long and dimly lit tunnel.


I wish you every success, and enjoyment, within your chosen activity for the forthcoming season.



Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

14th April Update

The First Minister yesterday provided an unexpected update on COVID-19 and related restrictions. The key elements of the announcement for sport are as follows:

 Friday 16 April

  • Travel: From Friday, some travel restrictions will be relaxed to allow travel across Scotland for the purposes of meeting outdoors with friends and family. This will allow travel for informal physical activity, but not for organised sport. Travel restrictions for wider purposes - including organised sport, leisure, shopping, visiting hospitality premises or staying in tourist accommodation - will remain until 26 April, as originally planned, when all travel restrictions within Scotland will be lifted. 

  • Outdoor gatherings: Up to 6 adults from 6 households can meet outside. The exemption for groups of up to 15 adults and over 18's taking part in organised outdoor sport within their own Local Authority area remains.

The accelerated easing of travel restrictions on Friday 16 April is aimed at improving the mental health of the nation by encouraging more people to see small groups of family and friends in an informal outdoor setting. 


Travel for organised sport will still be able to resume as originally planned on Monday 26 April. Please note this applies to all sports, not just equestrian activity. 


We will provide an update in relation to changes that come into effect on April 26 when we have final details


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

horsescotland COVID-19 Guidance:  14th April 2021

31st March Update

This guidance is effective from 5th April. For the time being, there is very little change to our current guidance issued on 12th March. 

Thank you for your continued patience whilst we seek clarification on a number of ongoing specific points of detail around future guidance, particularly around wider travel for over 18's.  We fully expect to have clarification prior to 26th April and will provide updates as soon as possible. 

The key updates within the new guidance document are as follows:


  • Level 4  (5 to 25 April). 


Outdoor contact sport is temporarily permitted for under 18's only, to allow activity to start.

Under 12's outdoor sport bubbles are subject to a maximum of 30 people, including coaches. 

12-17 year olds outdoor sport bubbles are subject to a maximum of 15 people, including coaches.


  • Level 3 (From 26 April).


Only under 12 outdoor contact sport and activity will be permitted.

Adult indoor individual exercise only.  Indoor group exercise is permitted however household numbers will apply i.e. 4 people / 2 households.

Outdoor bubbles can have a maximum of 30 participants. Multiple bubbles should not come into contact or cross over with each other before, during or after activity.


  • Level 2 (From 17 May). 


Indoor adult non-contact group activity can restart.

Maximum bubble sizes are still to be confirmed for Levels 0-2.  This is currently under review by Scottish Government.


  • Events and competitions 


Level 3 and below:

The maximum of 200 people per day limit is currently being reviewed by Scottish Government. Clarity on larger event guidance is also being sought and how bubbles will work in this context.  


  • Gyms/Indoor Facilities


The use of the term ‘gym’ (used in the Scottish Government timeline) will be updated to make it clear that this relates to indoor sports facilities and includes sports halls, swimming pools etc. 

We will provide updated guidance prior to 26 April and will include any relevant changes at that time.


Grant Turnbull


Chair horsescotland

horsescotland COVID-19 Guidance:  31st March 2021

12th March Update

Following on from our statement earlier in the week, we finally received an update from sportscotland on the 'Return to sport and physical activity' guidance at just after 5pm last night.  There has been a tremendous amount of work being carried out by sportscotland around this guidance.  In turn, Fiona Rawson, our Education and Development Manager has gone way beyond the call of duty to revise our Equestrian Guidance in line with the update and this has been turned around overnight and approved by sportscotland this morning.  Absolutely no mean feat, and Fiona's work must be applauded.


Key points within our revised Equestrian Guidance are as follows:


  • Children under 12 years of age can take part in outdoor contact and non-contact organised sport including training, group exercise and competition (organised activity) within their usual club or facility environment.

  • An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ for under 12's consists of up to 30 people including children and coaches at any one time.  For 12 years and over (including adults) a ‘field of play bubble' is restricted to up to 15 people, including coaches.

  • Adults (18 years and over) can only take part in organised activity including training and competitions within their own Local Authority area. For informal activity i.e. hacking or facility hire without a coach, they can travel up to 5 miles into a neighbouring Local Authority area. 

  • 17 years old and under have an exemption to allow travel to their usual club or facility, including to a national club venue where regular organised activity takes place.  Where it is a national club  event, cross border travel is permitted for organised activity.

  • Further information on travel guidance can be found here Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)


Through working closely with sportscotland, I am delighted to see activity again opening up for the equestrian community in Scotland.  I urge you to work with us, our Member Bodies and the wider community to ensure progression is speedy and continuous.  I personally believe that further relaxation measures are likely to be accelerated and that we can look forward to much greater freedom in the not too distant future.


Thank you for your continued support of what horsescotland does to assist our Scottish equestrian community. 


Grant Turnbull 

horsescotland Chair

horsescotland COVID-19 Guidance:  12th March 2021


10th March Update

The First Minister yesterday provided an update to the Scottish Parliament on COVID-19 and related restrictions. The statement sets out key changes to permitted outdoor sport and exercise that will come into effect from Friday 12th March.


The First Minister also noted that she will set out a clearer timetable for exiting lockdown next week, including an updated level system due to come into effect later in April.


The key changes for outdoor sport and exercise in level 4 areas are:

Outdoor gatherings – adults 18 and over

The maximum numbers for socialising outdoors will increase to 4 adults from 2 households. This applies to social and recreational purposes as well as for exercise.


Outdoor gatherings – 12 to 17-year olds

The maximum numbers for socialising outdoors will be 4 individuals from 4 households. This applies to social and recreational purposes as well as for exercise.


Outdoor sport & group exercise – 12 and over

Up to 15 people can take part in outdoor non-contact sport and organised group exercise.

(NB: Guidance already permits this for under 12s.)


Travel restrictions

People should stay as close to home as possible, in line with current travel restrictions, however some flexibility will be given to under 18s to travel across local authority boundaries to take part in sport. Further clarity on this will be provided when it is available.


A further update will follow once we have more detail.



Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

24th February Update 

In the First Minister's statement yesterday she highlighted the following. At this stage this is all the information we have available. As soon as we have more detail, especially from Mid-March, around the return to the level system we will update you all.

The statement set out indicative dates to return to a system of levels from the last week of April. The key points, relevant to sport are:

15 March

  • Education: Return of P4-7 pupils to schools full-time. More but not all secondary pupils returning to school at least part-time. (Full details to be confirmed next week)

  • Sport: Non-contact outdoor group sport permitted for 12 to 17 year olds (this is already permitted for under 12s).

  • Gatherings: Outdoor meetings of 4 people from 2 households permitted.

5 April

  • Stay at home: Stay at home requirement removed.

  • Education: Return to full-time in person education for all remaining school pupils.

  • Gatherings: Outdoor meetings of 6 people from 2 households permitted.

  • Economy: More retail businesses being classified as essential. Click-and-collect permitted for non-essential retail.

26 April

  • Strategic (Levels) Framework:  Return to a levels system, which includes regional variation based on data. Further detail will be published in mid-March.

  • Level 3: Initially the intention is that mainland Scotland will move to level 3. The islands currently at level 3 may drop to level 2, based on data.

  • Sport: The levels system will support the phased re-opening of sport. The detail of what activity will be permitted in each level will be confirmed in mid-March.

It is important to note that the timings are indicative and any changes will be driven by the data. 


It should also be noted that the dates set-out by UK Government on 22nd February do not apply to Scotland.

6th January Update 

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Patience is a virtue, with which some appear less blessed....


We should all know by now that the filtration effect takes time, and production of our Equestrian Guidance does not circumvent this process.


Yesterday I provided information that horsescotland knew was correct, and today we have worked non stop to gain further detail and to get our full guidance approved via sportscotland.  The attached document "Appendix 1 - Level 4 Guidance (Stay at Home)" is now fully approved and applies to all mainland Scotland until at least 31st January 2021.


The points I'd like to highlight are as follows:

  • A maximum of 2 people from 2 different households can meet outdoors for sport, exercise or recreation purposes - a professional coach would therefore be one of the households and so can only undertake individual sessions with any participant who is 12 years or over.  There is no limit to the number of sessions delivered in a day, provided appropriate measures are taken between sessions.

  • Travel within your own LA area is permitted for outdoor sport, exercise and recreation.  This provision includes travel to local facilities for the training and exercising of horses and ponies on equine care and welfare grounds.

  • Travel exemptions apply to attendance of a horse or pony by a vet or other equine professional.

  • Outdoor sports facilities may remain open - this includes equestrian centres, training venues and riding schools - provided the appropriate risk assessments and mitigation actions are in place.


I urge everyone to read both Appendix 1 and our full Equestrian Guidance.  These documents have been approved for use by our sector and provide excellent guidance to the whole of our Scottish equestrian community.  


Please work with us, not against us, to help eradicate the need for such burdensome restrictions as quickly and safely as possible.


Thank you


Grant  Turnbull

horsescotland Chair


Level 4 Guidance (Stay at Home)

Final Equestrian Guidance - 5th January 2021


Latest Support Updates

19/02/2021 The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Restart Fund

The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Restart Fund has been established to support the Scottish country sports tourism sector to survive the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is estimated that the value of country sports tourism to the Scottish economy is £200 million per year, with 8,800 full-time equivalent jobs being supported by the sector.


17/02/2021 More business support now live

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, which paid out more than £11 million in vital support last year, will also re-open for a second round.


17/02/2021 Non-domestic rates relief extended

Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined today.


£4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs
One-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, worth up to £9,000 per property, are available to help businesses through to the Spring.

Strategic Framework Business Fund

Apply to the Strategic Framework Business Fund if your business is required to close by law as a result of COVID-19 restrictions (Updated 5 January).


Extending support for hospitality, retail and leisure


A significant top-up to the grant support available for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions will be paid following an announcement today (11 January).


Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Claim for some of your employee’s wages if you have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The deadline for employers to claim for furlough days in December 2020 is 14 January.

5th January Update 

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


As we continue to work with sportscotland to establish the extent to which the new Government guidance impacts upon our community, I am pleased to be able to confirm that professional equestrian coaches may continue to work on a restricted basis as follows:

  • outdoors or within covered arenas only

  • within an individual participant's Local Authority area only

  • coaches should not deliver a session to more than one other person (if aged 12 years or over) at any one time

  • non contact group activity may continue for children under 12 years, but with a maximum of 2 coaches present at any one session

  • the responsibility lies with the coach and relevant COVID Officer to ensure full risk assessments, processes and mitigating actions are in place before any activity takes place

When taking part in sport, exercise or recreational activity, participants should at all times follow Scottish Government ‘stay at home’ guidance: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/

I do hope the above gives some useful insight for the time being and we will provide further updates as and when they become available


Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair


Full Equestrian Guidance 16/12/2020

Infographic Guidance 16/12/2020

21st December Update 


Dear All,


Following the First Minister's announcement on Saturday, all of mainland Scotland will enter Level 4 on 26th December at 00.01.


Within Level 4, non contact sport, including most equestrian activity, can continue outdoors (including within covered arenas). However, travel restrictions mean this can only be undertaken within your own Local Authority area.


Across all levels, coaches can continue to travel for work purposes and travel can be undertaken to care for animals on welfare grounds.


Attached is our full guidance document and info graphic. 


Grant Turnbull

Chair horsescotland


Full Equestrian Guidance 16/12/2020

Infographic Guidance 16/12/2020

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull

16th December Update 

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Dear All


Following the First Minister's announcement yesterday, there are no changes to our Equestrian Guidance but there are to be changes to three Local Authority levels - Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian - effective from 6pm on Friday 18th December, all three will move to Level 3. 


The First Minister also confirmed that there will now be a further review on Tuesday 22nd December.


Our infographic and guidance provides detail for equestrian participants, coaches and businesses. These documents are attached.


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland  Chair


Full Equestrian Guidance 16/12/2020

Infographic Guidance 16/12/2020

8th December Update 

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Dear All,


Following the First Minister's update yesterday, confirming changes to the Local Authority levels in Scotland, the reviewed status of each Local Authority can be found below. 


Thankfully, there are no further changes required to our guidance issued on 30th November (please see attached), however we would like to highlight that the relaxation of the travel guidance over the festive period does not extend to sport, only to visiting family. More information can be found here Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for festive period - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)


Finally, I would like to thank everyone from within our equestrian community and beyond for their continued support and adherence to guidance, I have been overwhelmed by the number of appreciative messages received, particularly from coaches and equestrian businesses. Since 23rd March, there have been OVER 500 CHANGES to sport guidance issued from Scottish Government - thank you all for bearing with these changes and for working collectively for the greater good of our community. 

Local authority area Protection level

  • Aberdeen City Level 2

  • AberdeenshireLevel 2

  • AngusLevel 3 - will move to Level 2 at 6pm on 11 December.

  • Argyll and ButeLevel 2

  • ClackmannanshireLevel 3

  • Comhairle nan Eilean SiarLevel 1

  • Dumfries and GallowayLevel 2 - will move to Level 1 at 6pm on 11 December.

  • Dundee City Level 3

  • East AyrshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • East DunbartonshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • East LothianLevel 2 

  • East RenfrewshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • Edinburgh (City of)Level 3

  • FalkirkLevel 3 - will move to Level 2 at 6pm on 11 December.

  • FifeLevel 3 

  • Glasgow CityLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • HighlandLevel 1

  • InverclydeLevel 3 - will move to Level 2 at 6pm on 11 December.

  • MidlothianLevel 3

  • MorayLevel 1

  • North AyrshireLevel 3

  • North LanarkshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • Orkney IslandsLevel 1

  • Perth and KinrossLevel 3 

  • RenfrewshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • Scottish BordersLevel 2 - will move to Level 1 at 6pm on 11 December.

  • Shetland IslandsLevel 1

  • South AyrshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • South LanarkshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • Stirling Level 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • West DunbartonshireLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).

  • West LothianLevel 4  - will move to Level 3 at 6pm on 11 December (retail can open from 6am that day).


Full Equestrian Guidance 8/12/2020

Infographic Guidance 8/12/2020

1st December Update 

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Dear All

Following the recent publication of the legal text around travel restrictions, as issued by the Scottish Government, we have been working with sportscotland to further clarify specific points in relation to the changes to travel connected to sport and physical activity in Level 3 and 4 areas.  

The Specific changes/updates that have been made to travel sections to reflect the legal text can be summarised as follows:

  1. If you live in a Level 3 or Level 4 Local Authority area you can take part in organised sport, activity or exercise in that area only, with the exception of point 3 below.

  2. You should not travel out of your Local Authority area, if it is at Level 3 or 4, to undertake organised sport, activity or exercise (exception:  u18s in a level 3 area can travel into other areas for allowable organised sport, activity and exercise).

  3. At Level 3 and 4 you can travel to a place up to 5 miles outside your Local Authority area to take part in informal exercise (household rules apply) as long as you start and finish at the same place. Please note, this exemption no longer permits travel for over 18's for any organised sport or physical activity. 

The above guidance around the 5 mile travel restriction has now changed 3 TIMES WITHIN 3 WEEKS. We have pushed hard against the tightening of travel for sport and physical activity, but it is now in legal form and the full text can be found here: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2020 (legislation.gov.uk)


Again, please don't shoot the messenger, this Regulation is much wider than sport and physical activity, but there is clear reference to permitted travel for the activities within the text.


Full details can be found in the attached full Equestrian Guidance, the updated info graphic to follow.


Grant Turnbull

Chair horsescotland

Full Equestrian Guidance 1/12/2020

Infographic Guidance 1/12/2020

24th November Update 

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Dear All

Within the revised guidance below, there are a couple of updates from the Scottish Government this week, particularly around Level 4 areas:

1.  Participants can now travel around 5 miles from a Level 4 Local Authority boundary to undertake outdoor non-contact sport and exercise for adults and under 18's. Please note this is from your home Local Authority area, not from where you horse is kept (if it is in a different Local Authority area).
2. Locker rooms, tack rooms, toilets and other necessary ancillary areas can be open with the appropriate hygiene and physical distancing risk assessments and mitigating measures in place.

Additionally, we have added to the guidance, a Local Authority contact list compiled by Scottish Government in association with BHS Scotland. This is a very useful document and should be used to obtain specific advice from your Local Authority EHO/Covid Officer.

Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair

Full Equestrian Guidance 23/11/2020

Updated Infographic 24/11/20

18th November Update 

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Yesterday, the First Minister announced the results of the latest review of COVID-19 protection levels in Scotland.

Many Local Authorities will remain at their current level and you can check which level applies by using the Scottish Government https://www.gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/

Two Local Authorities, East Lothian and Midlothian will move from level 3 to level 2 from next Tuesday, 24 November.

Eleven areas will move into level 4 restrictions from 6pm on Friday 20 November through to 11 December.  These are:  the City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

Travel restrictions are being put into law to limit travel for people who live in a Level 3 or Level 4 Local Authority area and we expect to have further detail on these restrictions within the next few days. There are some exemptions within sport around Under 18's being able to travel to take part in training and competition and for coaches and officials being able to travel for work. Further information included in the attached guidance.


Business Support

In addition to the UK furlough scheme, all businesses that are required to close, at any level, are eligible for a four weekly grant of £2,000 or £3,000, depending on rateable value. Grants of £1,400 or £2,100 may be available to businesses that are open, but subject to trading restrictions.

Further information on Business Support can be found at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/service/funding/strategic-framework-business-fun

The Scottish Government has confirmed that more details of additional support funds will be made available shortly.


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair 

Full Equestrian Guidance

Updated Infographic 17/11/20

First Minister Announcement

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Today saw the first review announcement from the First Minister of the Local Authority levels of the Strategic Framework that's now in place,  this sees Fife, Perth & Kinross and Angus move to Level 3. Please see the attached document for the full report.  All equestrian activity now taking place in any of these Local Authority areas should refer to our approved Equestrian Guidance for implications that the move from Level 2 to Level 3 will have. The changes take effect from 6am on Friday 13th November. 


We also attached the guidance document and info graphic for reference


The Scottish Government also announced its Business Strategic Framework. To check if you are eligible for business support if your business is restricted or closed due to the level it's placed within, please check here:



Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

Full Equestrian Guidance

InfoGraphic for Guidance


Equestrian overview infographic

 from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Travel Guidance Follow Up Statement

Follow up Statement on Travel: from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


In advance of commenting, please read and digest fully...


Thank you for your tremendous support following the issuing of our revised Equestrian Guidance yesterday.


Within the past 24 hours a number of anomalies have arisen, particularly around the travel guidance issued by sportscotland.  As an organisation, we have identified and highlighted these anomalies to sportscotland today and sought clarification within an equestrian context.  The main point of clarification, so far, is as follows:

  • Travel should be restricted, for sport, exercise, training and competition purposes, to your own Local Authority area, or within a 5 mile radius of your Local Authority boundary if travelling into a neighbouring Local Authority area - please note, the five mile distance is now not from your home, as was recommended yesterday, but you should still not travel between restriction levels.

The recommendation not to travel between Levels 0, 1, 2 and 3 for sport, exercise, training or competition remains in place, at this point in time.

Member Bodies, venues, coaches and participants should continue to follow our Approved Equestrian Guidance and therefore demonstrate the commitment of our community to mitigating transmission of the virus - by being able to demonstrate this, we are in a much stronger position to seek further relaxation measures specific to equestrian activity for the future.


horsescotland continues to engage with sportscotland, Active Scotland and Scottish Government on behalf of our Member Bodies, venues, coaches and participants to highlight the significant issues faced across Scotland due to the geographical distribution of our competition and training venues.  We continue to work on your behalf with the aim of obtaining approval for further relaxation of the onerous travel restrictions imposed through general population guidance.  We are not miracle workers, and the channels allowing change sometimes need oiling and warming up before the best outcome can be achieved. Please note the guidance for  Under 18's has not changed. They can continue to travel across Levels 0-3 for exercise, training and competition. Parents or carers can drive and accompany, but not participate. 


Anomalies will inevitably arise, we've seen that throughout the past few months, but please bear with us. We are working collectively for the Scottish equestrian community and your patience and understanding is very much appreciated at a time when guidance is new, fresh and untested.  


Like it or loathe it, I'm afraid we do have to work with Government guidance - but this does not mean it cannot be challenged...


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

Scotland Tier System Guideline Update

Scottish Government Update and Revised Equestrian Guidance


Following the implementation today of the Scottish Government's new levelled system, we are pleased that, as a non contact outdoor sport, most equestrian activity including recreational riding and professional coaching may continue. Unfortunately, however, there are limitations for adult (over 18's) competition as a result of the travel guidance to the general public..

Without doubt, the main frustration comes from the travel restrictions implemented by the First Minister.  These have been introduced across the levelled system and impose travel limits to, from and within Levels 0-4.  We are fully aware that this will impact significantly on many equestrian businesses.  The restrictions are uniform across all sporting activity, but with some exemptions for performance level athletes.

In summary, the current Scottish Government travel guidance is:

  • You should avoid travel to other areas regardless of their level, unless essential.

For exercise/sport, there are exemptions, however these are very limited:

  • U18s – can travel freely for exercise at Levels 0-3 but should not travel in or out of a Level 4 area.  Parents/carers may drive and accompany U18's to their activity but should not participate.

  • You can travel freely for exercise within your own Local Authority area.

  • Level 0, 1, or 2 areas - you should minimise unnecessary journeys between areas in different levels and avoid any unnecessary travel to places in Level 3 or Level 4 areas.

  • At Level 3 – you are permitted to travel around 5 miles outwith your own Local Authority area for exercise but shouldn’t go into a Level 4 area.

  • At Level 4 – you are not permitted to drive outside your Local Authority area for exercise – but are permitted to cross boundaries in the process of exercising eg. a circular riding/walking/cycling route

Anyone organising events for U18's can continue to do so across Levels 0-3.


Professional coaching may continue where the coach undertakes essential travel as part of their employment.  A professional coach may travel between Levels 0-3 to undertake coaching sessions, but a participant receiving coaching must remain within the above travel parameters.

We appreciate the impact this will have on all of our Scottish centres and participants and we continue to work very hard on your behalf by feeding into Sportscotland, Active Scotland and Scottish Government, often collectively with other sports but also to represent specific issues identified within equestrian activity.  


Each Local Authority level will be reviewed weekly, with the first review being on the 12th November 2020.  You can check your Local Authority level by inputting your postcode here  https://www.gov.scot/check-local-covid-level/


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair




Dear All,

On 7th October 2020 the First Minister made a statement to Scottish Parliament to set-out a tightening of coronavirus-related restrictions, especially in five NHS areas in response to an increase in the rate of spread of the virus.

The key points announced today were:

The primary measures impacting on sport are regional in their reach, covering the following NHS Health Boards and local authorities; NHS Ayrshire & Arran (North, South and East Ayrshire local authority areas), NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (Glasgow, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, and Inverclyde local authority areas), NHS Lanarkshire (North and South Lanarkshire local authority areas), NHS Forth Valley (Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Falkirk local authority areas) and NHS Lothian (Edinburgh, East, West and Mid-Lothian local authority areas).

The temporary measures being introduced in these areas are:

· Adult (18+) outdoor contact sport is not allowed, with an exemption for performance sport as defined in the Resumption of performance sport guidance. (Indoor adult contact sport continues to be prohibited across the country.)

· Adult (18+) indoor group exercise activities are not allowed. (Adult group activity for the purposes of this guidance is activity, involving adults, from more than 2 households / 6 members of those households who take part in an activity on any one day.)  

· Snooker / pool halls and indoor bowling alleys are required to close.

· Travel: Asking people to avoid public transport unless necessary (e.g. work or school). Advised to avoid (but not prohibited from) travelling outside your health board area if you don’t need to. For those living outside this region, they are advised not to travel into the region if you don’t need to. However, this is advice not mandatory and people are not required to cancel half-term breaks they have planned.

Outdoor adult non-contact group exercise and indoor adult individual exercise can continue in line with current SGB and operator guidance.

There is no change to sport and physical activity guidance for under 18s.

Those who were in the shielding group have not been asked to return to shielding but are being advised to take extra care, especially in the central belt, following the rise in cases.

Please find attached our guidance which sets out further details of the above key points

Grant Turnbull
horsescotland Chair--

Updated Equestrian Phase 3 Approved Guidance 07/10/2020


Dear Members,

Following the First Minister's announcement yesterday, where she outlined a number of tightening of restrictions, in response to the increased  spread of the COVID virus., Please find attached our update and approved Equestrian Guidance.

The major changes to our Equestrian guidance from the 11th September are that we  should now not exceed 200 people in any one day, at competitions, training and events including organisers, officials and participants.

The second change is that sadly the indicative date of 5th October 2020 has been delayed for the following activities

Indoor contact sport: Allowed to resume for adults and young people aged 12 and over, following relevant SGB guidance. (Currently only allowed for children under 12.)
Sports stadia: Allowed to re-open for limited numbers. Planned test events will go ahead and further test events may take place before 5 October.
Events: There will be further relaxation of restrictions on indoor and outdoor events, although this will not allow all events and particularly large events to take place.

Grant Turnbull 
horsescotland Chair

Updated Equestrian Phase 3 Approved Guidance 22/09/2020


Following the First Minister's briefing of yesterday, I am delighted that we have been able to have our updated Equestrian Guidance approved by Scottish Government, via sportscotland.


Whilst other sectors within the country have had their freedom curtailed to varying degrees, sport has been given dispensation entirely due to the route that has been taken so far.  This dispensation by Scottish Government is in recognition of the way in which the sporting sector, including equestrian activity, has conducted itself throughout the pandemic.  As a community, we must continue to adhere not only to our equestrian specific guidance but also to the general guidance to the public. I urge everyone to enjoy all equestrian activity safely and to be mindful of the overarching Government guidance to ensure that we see full resumption of all sporting activity at the earliest possible opportunity.

It is vital that we recognise that we have a responsibility to keep everyone safe and work to reduce the spread of Coronavirus to avoid further lockdowns and restrictions being put in place. With the recent figures increasing it demonstrates the virus has not gone away and we all have our part to play in suppressing the spread, therefore we encourage all partners to promote the Protect Scotland App, more info on the App can be found here https://www.gov.scot/news/protect-scotland-app-launches/  


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

APPROVED Final Equestrian Guidance at 11th September2020 


Dear Members,


Following on from the announcement about the opening of Indoor Sporting Facilities on 31st August 2020, we now have, had our Equestrian guidance approved for indoor competitions to resume.


Please find attached our approved Equestrian guidance 4th September 2020



Final Equestrian Phase 3 Approved Guidance


Dear Members


We would like to remind the sector that the Scottish Government confirmed that indoors spaces can open from the 31st August 2020. 


It's important that all guidance should be read in conjunction with our Approved Sport specific Phase Three guidance for risks assessments, physical distancing, hygiene measures etc which can be found here https://www.horsescotland.org/equestrianphaseguidance


When opening indoor facilities please refer to the sportscotland guidance on getting facilities fit for sport which can be found here https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/getting-your-facilities-fit-for-sport/


Further info on opening facilities can be found via CIBSE (chartered institution of building service engineers) www.cibse.org 


Finally a reminder that facilities should have a dedicated COVID Officer, an e-learning support for the role can be accessed here https://rise.articulate.com/share/LlEWUj-o23H_4gC1AF002jdxdrCucQC0#/


Grant Turnbull

Chair horsescotland 

Updated Phase Three Guidance 


Following the announcement from the First Minister on the 20th August, where we welcomed further relaxation of guidance, we are delighted to share our Approved Equestrian Specific Guidance.  This has been fully endorsed by sportscotland late this afternoon. 


We advise that you read the guidance document in full, however the the main points we would like to highlight are: 


1.  Coaching can now take place in sessions of up to 30 people outdoors, multiple sessions can take place as long as the groups don't mix.


2.  Competition Bubbles have now increased to up to 30 people outdoors, although again these bubbles cannot mix.


3.  The use of indoor facilities can resume from the 31st August 2020 - further guidance with greater detail will follow. 


We have tried to make the Guidance document more user friendly by adding a Contents section, which helps take you to specific sections of the document but please ensure that you read the full document, especially if planning or organising an event, competition or training.  To preserve the integrity of our sport, we must continue to adhere to this Equestrian Specific Guidance.


Grant Turnbull

horsescotland Chair

Full Phase 3 Approved Equestrian Specific Guidance

Updated Phase Three Guidance 


Here you can find the Phase Three Guidance which now includes the competition guidance. As well as this you can also find the BHS report on Covered Arenas which was approved by the Scottish Government for use from the 29th June 2020.

Full Phase 3 Guidance including competition guide

BHS Report on Covered Arenas



An updated statement from horsescotland Chair, Grant Turnbull


Following my statement of earlier today, attached is the full Resumption Guidance for equestrian competition in Scotland, as approved by Scottish Government and sportscotland. We have worked continuously in the course of the day with our Member Bodies, discipline Chairs and Reps, officials, venues and organisers and we are all in agreement that this is a much needed, and most helpful, move forward.  All disciplines are now working hard to implement the Guidance to meet their individual competitive environments and I urge you, at all times, to work with, not against, what is being done.  No doubt, there will be challenges ahead across the sporting landscape to allow competition to resume in a practical manner, but public health and safety must always be to the fore.  Please support us, and others, by being part of a proactive Scottish equestrian community.


Thank You



Updated Coaching Guidance 30/07/20

Statement from Grant Turnbull, Chair of horsescotland 10/07/20

On the 9th July the First Minister announced the move to Phase Three of the roadmap, our guidance is attached. There are a couple of areas within the guidance that I would like to highlight.  


Firstly, it is encouraging that all coaches can now deliver unlimited sessions to under 18's, with each group size being a maximum of six participants. 


horsescotland continues to work with Scottish Government and sportscotland to push for a review on adult coaching. Please bear in mind that coaching is being considered by Government in a sport wide context and not specific to our sector. We continue to highlight that our coaches can work safely whilst adhering to guidance and that the daily limit is having massive economic impact on individuals and businesses. To date, as an equestrian community, we have managed to have coaching discussed in the Scottish Parliament twice but regrettably the First Minister remains reluctant to move away from the household limit. I would encourage everyone to continue to engage with your local MSP to support us in asking for this to be reviewed.


Secondly, we are currently working with the Olympic disciplines, sportscotland and the Scottish Government to get protocols approved for the resumption of equestrian competition in Scotland. We hope to be able to provide further update during the course of next week. 


Grant Turnbull




horsescotland now has guidance (see below) approved by Scottish Government via sportscotland for sporting activity resumption through Phase Two.  The exceptional work of BHS Scotland has also been successful in getting the use of covered arenas endorsed for use from 29th June - this is a great boost for many of our businesses and the economic benefits cannot be understated.

It is recognised that there are many anomalies, and some direct contradictions, arising from Government guidance, particularly between Return to Work and Extension to Exercise policy, both of which are very relevant to our professional coaches and riding centres.  I urge you to look specifically at your own personal or business circumstances, undertake the appropriate risk assessments, check with your insurance provider and, based on your findings, proceed in a way you believe to be correct.  The First Minister herself said last Thursday that the Government cannot provide guidance for everyone's individual circumstances.  I therefore encourage you to make your own decisions and take personal responsibility for doing what is right for you, your business and the safety of others.


Thank you






Here is the Phase One guidance document, which has been prepared following the First Minister's announcement of yesterday. This document identifies measures to be implemented as we move into Phase One of the road map.  


We hope that it assists you in making decisions and judgements which will be specific to your own personal or business circumstances. 


In developing this guidance, horsescotland has been working closely with Sportscotland and the Scottish Government on behalf of the equestrian sector.


Please share this guidance freely around your networks.