ABRS Update 7th November

Lockdown #2 Update 7th November

Updated BE Guidance:  https://www.britishequestrian.org.uk/news/covid-19-england-lockdown-travel-in-scotland-and-post-firebreak-advice-for-wales

The clarification on how the lockdown legislation is interpreted in the context of riding continues, with British Equestrian representing the combined views of the member bodies.  Further clarification was received last night from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and where this changes the ABRS’ Lockdown 2 Q&As, these are highlighted in RED.  British Equestrian are still seeking further clarity from Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) regarding some possible equine welfare issues within the guidance and this is likely to lead to further guidance being published in the coming week.  While we all would like total clarity, there will remain areas of ambiguity; riding establishments will need to interpret the rules and guidance in the context of their specific circumstances.  Members can contact the ABRS office for advice.

  • Q: Do I have to close my riding school or livery yard?
  • A: No, the legislation did not include the mandatory closure of riding schools or livery yards, Riding centres and schools may remain open and deliver formal training and education but owners need to comply with the overarching legislation associated with how people can meet and interact outdoors.
  • Q: Does that mean I can still provide lessons?
  • A: Yes, but there are restrictions.  The legislation allows for coaching on a one-to-one basis, and for riding centres and schools to deliver formal training and education.  Formal training comprises courses such as the CIEC, BTEC etc.  Education could include where a school regularly books a riding as part of their curriculum.
  • Q: Can my livery clients come to the yard?
  • A: Yes, clients can travel from their homes to provide care for and to exercise their horse(s) but journeys should be as short and infrequent as possible
  • Q: Can my clients ride their horses?
  • A: Yes, outdoor exercise (individual or with members of their household (own or linked), or one other person who is not a member of their household) is permitted in a public outdoor place.  This should be done for exercise purposes only (horse welfare) and ideally start and end at the yard where the horse is kept.

Note:  we are trying to seek clarity on what is a ‘public outdoor place’.

  • Q: Is hacking allowed?
  • A: Yes
  • Q: Can horses be boxed and travel for exercise?
  • A: Yes, to a public outdoor place such a park, forest or beach for exercise (where horses are permitted) but journeys should be as short and infrequent as possible
  • Q: Can I use my Arena?
  • A: Yes, subject to social distancing and number restrictions.   Clients may box and travel their horse(s) a short distance to use a private arena for exercise purposes.
  • Q: Are visits by vets, equine dentists and physiotherapists permitted?
  • A: Yes, subject to social distancing.
  • Q: Are competitions and organised training permitted?
  • A: No, All competition and organised training has been suspended by British Equestrian.
  • Q: Can I hire equestrian facilities?
  • A: No, you may nottravel to a venue and pay to ride on the premises (arenas, farm tracks, gallops, jumps, cross country schooling, etc.).  Venues which normally offer this service should suspend hire.
  • Q: Can I still coach?
  • A: Yes, Coaches may continue to operate.  Sessions should be delivered on a one-to-one basis.  There are no limits on the number of sessions a coach may provide each day.


Lockdown 2.0

IRC Policy during Lockdown 2.0

Please follow our Covid 19 instructions which are displayed around the site at all times


We will continue to book lessons using the EC Pro app as the office is unlikely to be staffed. Lessons will be more limited so please check the app regularly for updates and look out for notifications via the app. We will be responding to emails and Facebook messages.

We are open for private one to one lessons only, all group lessons will be suspended. Some one to one lessons show under group activities but to be clear these are one to one sessions.

Only existing clients of IRC can book lessons, we are sorry but we cannot take any new clients during lockdown.

We are currently offering lessons to confident riders only ie riders that require instruction only and no additional assistance eg leading, sorry but no beginners at this time.

Semi private lessons for members of the same family will continue but we are monitoring the new rules closely.

You will not be able to choose your horse/pony at this time as we need to ensure that horses are rotated to ensure tack and saddles are cleaned properly between riders.

If you need to cancel your lesson please do so via the app. Normal cancellation policy applies and you will be credited automatically via the app where appropriate.


Sorry there are no spectators allowed. You can wait with your child until the lesson starts and help them get on the horse/pony and adjust the stirrups etc, then please return to your car.

After the lesson, you can come back into the yard to collect your child.

All of our staff are DBS checked and have safeguarding training so it is safe to leave your child with them for the duration of the lesson.

For the time being the toilets are not in use for spectators.

Last updated 6th November 2020

A visit from HRH The Princess Royal

We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to Island Riding Centre.

During a two hour visit the Princess was able to see a range of the current projects in operation and met with many of the individuals associated with these.

A brief introduction with owners Louise and Paul Buckner and Wighthorse Community Interest Company (CIC) trustee Christina Czarkowski-Crouch was followed by a tour of the main yards meeting grooms Angel, Emily and Katie and a number of the riding school ponies and liveries.

On the yard the full-time level 2 and 3 students from HTP spoke about their course work and later in the visit the level 3 students performed a musical ride under the stewardship of instructor Jo Hogan, and HTP owners Rachael and Malcolm Randall outlined the benefits of the courses on offer through HTP and IRC.

Christina was able to explain the great work that Wighthorse CIC is doing, providing riding opportunities for children and adults with financial, social and physical difficulties and HRH was shown a demonstration of the para-rider hoist that will enable even those with the most severe physical limitations to ride and the Princess later visited the newly opened café where all profits go to the CIC.

A further riding demonstration under the instruction of Kim Watts came from the pupils of St Catherines School for children with special educational needs who ride regularly with IRC.

Part of the tour saw the Princess inspect the recently finished safari ‘glamping’ tents which with the support of the IW Rural Fund will enable larger groups from schools and clubs from both on and off the Island visit and not only take part in equestrian activities but also explore the outdoor opportunities on offer.

The classroom was in use with our weekly ‘messy play’ session run by SCOPE and the Princess made time to meet everyone and saw at first hand the benefits of having the Changing Places WC on site has made, allowing individuals with severe disabilities the rare chance to venture out for a welcome change of scene.

The visit concluded with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the visit before the party departed for the mainland on the royal helicopter.

HRH meets Rosie the Shetland with Louise

Unveiling the plaque to commemorate the visit

Demonstrating the para-rider hoist

Food Exhibition at IRC

March 12th saw the very first exhibition in our indoor arena. After a day of laying the wooden floor, Coast and Country Marquees transformed our 1500sqm arena into a useable event space for Medina Foodservice to host their annual catering exhibition.

With over 100 exhibitors showcasing products ranging from ice creams to pies and gin to fresh cakes there was something for everyone and the show was a huge success. Cory Williams operations director at Medina Foodservice said “What a fantastic venue for exhibitions and functions! Such a large expanse of space that can be adapted to suit all kinds of larger scale events. We’re so pleased with the riding centre and how they accommodated our busy set up!”

One exhibitor exclaimed “This is just like the NEC!” Maybe not quite but the venue proved it can be versatile and we are already discussing a number of alternative events that this huge indoor space could host such as weddings, live music and presentation dinners and functions.

If you would like to find out more about hiring the venue please call us on 01983 214000 or email info@islandriding.com

Steven Benson

Steven’s riding high again!

Friday 28th February saw the unveiling of Island Riding Centre’s brand new Para Rider hoist from Dolphin Mobility. This is the Island’s only equine mobility hoist and enables all wheelchair bound adults and children the opportunity to get onto horse back.

The first lucky rider to use the hoist was Steven Benson from Wootton. Steven who suffers from cerebral palsy is already a regular visitor to IRC with Scope, attending ‘Messy Play’ sessions made possible by the recently installed Changing Places toilet which enables him and others the chance to leave their home for a welcome change of scene and which until Friday meant only watching the horses. Read more

Barton Primary School

We welcome Barton Primary School

In association with our Community Interest Company Wight Horse we were delighted to welcome some of the staff and pupils from Barton Primary School for a pony ride and stable management session.

Mrs Meredith and Mr Whiting accompanied ten pupils from across the school where they spent the morning grooming the horses, mucking out the stables and then they enjoyed an exciting horse riding session.

Wight Horse CIC continues to raise funds to provide free and subsidised sessions at Island Riding Centre for groups and individuals who have financial and physical limitations and we look forward to supporting local schools as part of this project.

If you would like to support Wight Horse CIC or find out more, please get in touch by emailing info@wighthorse.co.uk or call IRC on 01983 214000.

Study Centre opened by Lord-Lieutenant at Island Riding Centre

We were delighted to welcome Mrs Susie Sheldon, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight to officially open our study centre at the Island Riding Centre.

During her visit the Lord-Lieutenant met the current intake of students from HTP Apprenticeship College and watched a short demonstration performed by some of the students under the excellent stewardship of their tutor and instructor Jo Hogan.

The study centre is already proving popular and hosts weekly sessions for school excluded children in conjunction with the Isle of Wight Council and SCOPE who are able to take advantage of the centre’s Changing Places WC right next door.

Changing Places WC opens at Island Riding Centre

We are delighted to announce the opening of our Changing Places toilet at Island Riding Centre. Changing Places WC’s provide added independence and improve the quality of life for 1000’s of families. With a motorised hoist and changing table as well as a shower and accessible sink and WC we hope this amazing facility will […]

Beach soccer ball

Football freestyle comes to the IRC

Legendary YouTube vlogger and 5 x World record holder and football freestyler Daniel Cutting came to stay with us at Island Riding Centre in June.

Hoping to make a sun-kissed video on Appley Beach in Ryde – the home of Isle of Wight Beach Soccer – the British weather took hold and Daniel and his friends took the sensible option and came inside for an impromptu 5-a-side football game in our indoor arena.

See how they got on here

Whilst visiting Daniel was kind enough to take time out and meet some of his 600,000 YouTube followers and even give them some tips on how to follow in his footsteps!

Learn more about Daniel here.