Coronavirus Kent: Riding stables in Kent prepare to reopen for private one-to-one lessons
Children are climbing back in the saddle as the easing of lockdown restrictions mean that riding centres can now reopen.
The British Horse Society has confirmed all schools, facility centres and livery yards in England may now open their gates again whilst observing government guidelines regarding social distancing.
The change means many youngsters in Kent who enjoyed horse riding as a hobby may be able to resume lessons they had to give up when lockdown first came into force at the end of March because of the coronavirus outbreak whilst the announcement is being welcomed by many parents keen for their offspring to safely restart some extra-curricular activities as a break from isolating indoors.
A relaxation of restrictions also means riders and horse owners can now meet and exercise in groups of two - with one person from a household meeting one other person from another household as per the latest guidelines announced by Boris Johnson earlier this month which also apply to those taking exercise, walking, riding, playing some sports or meeting one friend.
The new guidance does not yet apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Island.
Riding schools and coaches can only run one-to-one lessons so families keen to give bored youngsters something to enjoy must do so only with private lessons at their stables for the time being.
Group lessons are not yet possible under the latest regulations so riders can only be welcomed back one at a time.
On its website the BHS explains: "To align with the latest government guidelines you may only exercise in groups of no more than two unless you are exclusively with members of your household, riding schools and freelance coaches are advised to provide lessons or coaching to individuals only."
Among the stables in Kent to have begun the process of reopening is Whiteleaf Riding Stables in Teynham near Sittingbourne.
In a message on its facebook page, which was hugely welcomed by members and riders, the stables said it was resuming bookings for one-to-one private lessons for riders who could 'independently mount, adjust stirrups and girths and walk and trot off the lead rein' to enable its instructors to safely maintain the two metre distance required.
Horseshoes Riding Centre in Maidstone is welcoming back intermediate riders and above according to its facebook page with parents being reminded that only one parent/carer can watch a young rider, social distancing must be observed and all riders must have their own hats and gloves.
Danley Marshes Riding Centre on the Isle of Sheppey also announced via its facebook page that it too was reopening with bookings for private lessons beginning from Tuesday (May 19) with Sunnybrook Riding School just outside Ashford confirming it would begin private lessons as of May 26.
Centre owners and riders keen to understand more about the changes and what it means for them are being directed, by the BHS, to the government's coronavirus question and answer page. Find that here.