Further to the announcement by the UK Government of a further period of lockdown to run from 5th November to 2nd December the HPA’s Winter Polo Steering Group has been working hard to establish the effect on the Winter Polo Season, on those who keep their ponies at livery and on the polo instructors, schools and academies. There is conflicting advice on the internet as to what is and is not allowed. Following consultation with British Equestrian (BEF), who are in direct communication with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, it has been agreed that the HPA will enforce the following rules during the period of lockdown:
- No polo of any description is to be played at any HPA affiliated club.
- Horse owners may exercise their own horse, including those at livery. They may stick and ball with one other person. To qualify as the owner they must be the person who normally has responsibility for paying the expenses of that horse.
- Arena hire is not allowed.
- There shall not be more than 5 people in an arena at any time.
- Coaches may travel to give lessons
- 1 to 1 coaching is allowed provided that the student is on their own horse and that the horse has not had to be transported for the lesson.
- School lessons may continue provided that polo is part of that school’s curriculum and that the school’s own protocols allow it to do so.
The intention of the lock down is to reduce cross over between bubbles and to reduce interaction between individuals from different bubbles or households. All clubs and HPA members are expected to support the Government’s intention and guidelines as well as the specifics identified by the HPA as applicable to winter polo, exercising and coaching. Failure to do so will invoke a charge of misconduct which could result in a significant fine and/or lengthy suspension.