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Sutherland riders not practising showjumping to avoid injuries which could result in using NHS services

By Will Clark

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All showjumping has been suspended.
All showjumping has been suspended.

EQUESTRIAN riders are postponing practising showjumping during the coronavirus pandemic to avoid adding unnecessary burden on NHS services.

As with other sports, equestrian competitions in 2020 have been put off in attempt to get COVID-19 under control.

And horse riders in Sutherland are doing their part by not jumping fences during the lockdown period to avoid injury which could result in services being redirected from fighting against the virus.

Sutherland Riding Club chairwoman Caroline Gilchrist says most riders are taking advice from the British Horse Society who are asking riders to take a sensible approach during the coronavirus period.

"The British Horse Society is asking individuals to assess the risk before deciding whether to ride on their horses," she said.

"A lot of people and yards have said riders should not be doing any jumping as that raises the risk of ending up on the ground.

"They are asking is it something that we could do without for six weeks and reduces the risk of having to call out an ambulance.

"It is up to the riders to make the decisions and be sensible about it."

Gilchrist says during the pandemic they have seen the number of services for equine health reduced as a result of Government restrictions.

They have also been advised by the British Horse Society to come up with their own care plan in the event they fall unwell.

"Vets are there for emergencies but they are not doing vaccinations in the same way.

"Horses need vaccinations once or twice a year for equine flu if you are going to compete or go to other venues where they are with other horses.

"Dental work is also not being done as most horses get their dental work done for a few times a year.

"We have all been asked by the British Horse Society to get a care plan in place, in case we fall ill somebody can come in and take charge of your horses."

Despite the equestrian calendar being put on hold, Gilchrist is hopeful when the virus is under control, equestrian can get back into action.

"It is in complete state of flux as events have been cancelled until at least July and things after that they are thinking about," she said.

"British eventing is a big calendar which normally starts in March and goes through until September and October.

"I don’t know when they’ll get going but I have nothing confirmed in the diary and nothing confirmed in the riding club diary to do at all.

"As soon as we are told we can, we will get the instructors back in and hope that everybody come back with renewed enthusiasm."

"But at present, the equestrian world has come to a complete standstill."

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