Half Halt or Kick On? Our Horse Owners Guide to Riding out of Lockdown in Australia

As lockdown restrictions start to ease across Australia, horse owners are starting to think about what activities can resume. Lessons? Riding at the local indoor? Cross Country Schooling? Riding Club? When will the kids go back to Pony Club? When will competitions recommence?

For most of the team in the Active Equine office it has been a relatively quiet time on the equine front. Most horses have been given a holiday and lots of odd jobs have been completed around the stables! This must be how people without horses live their life normally right?!

Sharing stories helps us remember we are in this together. If you'd like to share your COVID-19 experience, please email info@activeequine.com.au

As lockdown rules change from week to week, we compiled a list of current information to help you understand whether it's okay to ride on out of lockdown! 

Here's a summary of the information we have been able to find on what you can and can't do with your horses in parts of Australia as at Thursday 28 May 2020:

Equestrian Australia - 25 May 2020

Link to EA COVID-19 Update Page

EA COVID-19 Update on Resuming Training and Competition

Equestrian Australia supports the release of the Federal Government’s Return to Sport Toolkit and continues to work with the Federal Government, Australian Institute of Sport and Sport Australia on a safe and staged return to training and competition.
We are currently developing and embedding our sport specific guidelines – ‘Resuming Equestrian Training and Competition Activities in a COVID-19 Environment' – into the Return to Sport Toolkit with a draft being considered later this week.
Our aim is to release these guidelines by 11 June and are designed to complement those that have been published or are being developed by each State Branch which reflect local regulations.
The health and safety of our people and horses remain our priority as we work together as a broader community in order to navigate through these tough times.

Equestrian Victoria - 25 May 2020

Link to EV COVID-19 Update Page


Outdoor recreational activities can be undertaken in groups of up to 20 participants, subject to social distancing and hygiene measures being implemented. This means members may continue to:

- Ride off property
- Travel horses locally and regionally including for training/coaching – overnight stays at friend or family premises permitted subject to current restrictions
- Participate in outdoor training/coaching activities with a maximum of 20 participants New South Wales


- Riders should check with venue as owners/managers who may have venue specific restrictions
- Social distancing (1.5m) and good hygiene MUST be maintained
- These allowances are for outdoor areas only – no gatherings for recreational activities indoors are permitted
- Groups can be no larger than 20 (plus the coaches and helpers required to run the activity). More than one group of 20 can be present on a venue at the same time, if the different groups are physically well separated on different parts of the venue. No other facilities except toilet facilities may be used.
- 1 parent/helper per rider only.
- Toilets can be used. Hygiene must be maintained, and soap or sanitizer provided.
- Club rooms, canteens and other spaces must remain closed.
- The COVIDsafe app should be downloaded and active.
- Name, mobile phone and time at the venue must be recorded for every person present.
- Persons displaying any sign of sickness must not attend.

Members may continue to:

- Have coaches, farriers, trainers, vets, and other equine professionals attend your property
- Attend agistment centres to care for horses subject to venue owner/manager specific restrictions

The approach to activities/training should focus on ‘get in, train, get out’, minimising unnecessary contact in stables, toilet facilities, and any communal areas.

Equestrian Queensland - 14 May 2020

Link to EQ COVID-19 Update Page

Equestrian New South Wales - 11 May 2020

Link to ENSW COVID-19 Update Page

The NSW Government announced on Sunday 10 May 20, that some restrictions will be eased from Friday 15 May 20, including allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people.
Equestrian NSW has asked the NSW Office of Sport how these new arrangements can be applied to equestrian, specifically clinics and training days.
The Federal Government has stated that it wants most restrictions eased by July, but recognise that individual State Governments decide how and when this will happen.
Equestrian NSW will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to members as new information comes to hand.
If you have any questions, please call the Equestrian NSW office on 9620 2660 or email info@ensw.org.au.

Equestrian Western Australia

Link to EWA COVID-19 Update Page

Equestrian WA Has prepared a huge number of documents to guide equestrians safely out of lockdown. We recommend reading all of the material if you are a horse owner based in WA.

Equestrian South Australia - 27 May 2020

Link to ESA COVID-19 Update Page

The SA Government has now released the details of Step 2 of the Roadmap to Recovery in SA, which includes a return to sporting competition (both contact and non-contact).

From Monday 1 June, equestrian competition can recommence, provided that:

  • Social distancing measures are adhered to (1 person per 4sqm and 1.5 m between people)
  • Hygiene stations are available and utilised at all communal areas, entries and exits
  • A maximum of 20 participants for non-contact outdoor sport, per group
  • A maximum of 20 people per indoor non-contact sport venue, with maximum of 10 participants per group
  • Participant numbers exclude additional required personnel such as coaches, judges, volunteer and support staff/caregivers, but these should be kept to a minimum
  • Maximum of one care-giver per participant, where required
  • Maximum of 80 attendees per venue (Including all participants and support personnel)
  • That anyone with symptoms of cold/flu do not attend training or competition until they are well.
  • All clubs and venues are required to complete a COVID-Safe plan (available online, here) and display this at the premises.

This plan should be provided to all participants and attendees to ensure protocols are followed. Total participant numbers will be guided by the density requirements of individual venues, and will be based on information entered in the COVID-Safe Plan.

Step 2 principles

The easing of restrictions for Step 2 is based on a number of principles that have been established from available medical evidence. The 6 principles are designed to limit the ability for COVID-19 to be transmitted and to spread among networks of people. These Principles include:


  • Principle 1: Reduce the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of close contacts
  • Principle 2: Reduce the likelihood that the close contacts you have are sick with a COVID-19 compatible illness
  • Principle 3: Limit close contacts to people you know
  • Principle 4: Reduce the number of circumstances where close contacts can be created
  • Principle 5: Reduce the spread of COVID-19 through body secretions and surfaces
  • Principle 6: Identify and manage any outbreak of COVID-19.


This brings us to the end of our guide. We hope it has been useful for you!

Remember, if you feel sick in any way, or if your state has different restrictions in force following the publication of this blog, please stay home. We know it's tough, but this is the time to stick together and reduce the risk for your family, friends, and fellow humans. 

Stay Safe

-Team Active Equine