As we emerge from lockdown, many drivers and grooms are understandably keen to get back to competitions. The British Grooms Association shares some thoughts on staying safe at events.
This was first published in Carriage Driving August 2020 but it remains an important guideline. If planning to attend an event always check for latest government advice and for information from the event or show organiser.
This is an exciting time for all but it is still important that you know how to keep yourself and everyone around you safe in the upcoming shows.
- Familiarise yourself with, and follow, the organiser’s rules and guidance. Take five minutes before you travel to competitions to check any information they have provided as this could influence things like timing and parking. Respect these rules at all times, centres could be asked to stop hosting competitions if rules are broken.
- Socialise from a distance – we know you will have missed your friends and the temptation to give them a big hug will be strong but don’t! Have a chat and catch up over a socially distanced outdoor coffee instead.
- Avoid sharing – it goes against how most drivers and grooms operate but try and avoid sharing tack, studs, drinks, ropes and buckets. Try and keep your equipment within your immediate team.
- Wash your hands – it really goes without saying now, but try and keep up with regular hand washing or sanitising. Although the pandemic is stabilising, it is still out there and precautions should still be taken.
- Unless you have the luxury of facilities in your horsebox then sharing public convenience facilities is unavoidable. Public toilets carry a risk of transmission of Covid19 given the low levels of natural light, lack of ventilation, many surfaces to touch and the purpose of a toilet.
- The event organiser should have a protocol in place to ensure regular cleaning of facilities but you can minimise your own risk by ensuring that you wash/sanitise your hands both before and after using the facilities.
- Staying overnight - Many equestrian event organisers are basing their protocols on the guidance given for campsites, where overnight stays are required.
- If you would normally share a tent or caravan with someone from a different household, you may want to consider additional sleeping arrangements and pack an extra tent to ensure that guidelines can still be met.
- Be mindful – you might be low risk and feel comfortable being relaxed about social distancing guidelines, but there are many others who are in the vulnerable category or recently been shielding. This may be people with underlying health issues which you are not aware of so, by maintaining a suitable social distance you are avoiding making them feel uncomfortable.
- If you know someone who is vulnerable you may both want to consider using a face covering.
- Be safe, but have fun – you’ve been locked down for a long time… enjoy going out again and doing what you love!
For support for employers go to equestrianemployers.org.uk. For support for grooms go to britishgrooms.org.uk.