Guidelines for mitigating the risk of Covid-19 in equestrian establishments


Dr David Marlin and Dr Jane Williams (Hartpury University) have produced a comprehensive set of guidelines to help equestrian establishments put Covid-19 control measures in place.

The attached documents, which we encourage you to download, provide guidelines to assist horse owners and stable/livery yard owners. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure they follow Government advice related to the coronavirus pandemic. None of the contributors takes any responsibility for the application of these guidelines by users. Current coronavirus guidance can be found at:

These guidelines are based on research undertaken by Dr David Marlin, Dr Hayley Randle and Dr Jane Williams exploring UK horse owners’ experience and concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. Further details are available here:


Click the image to download a pdf of the leaflet.

Please download this 8-page leaflet and share it with your colleagues and friends.

The purpose of these guidelines is to outline key areas for horse, donkey and mule owners and keepers to implement to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 within equestrian establishments. The guidelines provide a consensus-based combination of research and government guidelines.


Click the image to download a pdf of the A4 Poster.

Here is an A4 Poster that you may download, print and display at your yard, training centre, tack room, feed store etc.

Web versions are available for the leaflet and poster – to download those please follow the links:

Web-version of the leaflet – click here.
Web-version of the poster – click here.



New COVID-19 Secure Guidance For Equestrian Establishments
Hot on the heels of a survey which highlighted UK horse owners’ key concerns during the current coronavirus pandemic, two of the survey’s authors – equine scientist Dr David Marlin and Dr Jane Williams (Hartpury University) – have collaborated to produce a comprehensive set of guidelines to help equestrian establishments put in place recommended measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. 
The advisory document provides details of the responsible practices that need to be adopted by owners and keepers, based on credible research and national government guidance. The initiative is in direct response to the survey findings which identified that 73% of respondents felt that the pandemic had a significant detrimental impact on their mental health, citing stress regarding who would be able to care for their horse in the event of illness or need to self-isolate, as a key factor. The survey also evidenced that while livery yards were strong on providing hand washing or hand sanitising facilities, the majority – especially DIY yards – had limited Covid-19 plans in place and many struggled to implement the standard measures prescribed by government within an equestrian environment. 
Alongside the information detailing precautionary steps which should be rolled out across all equestrian settings, the eight-page dossier also offers those who care for horses, donkeys or mules, insightful tips on how to be suitably prepared to ensure the welfare of their animal, in case they fall victim to the virus or are forced to self-isolate and therefore stay away from the yard. 
In addition to the guidelines, which are endorsed by the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC), World Horse Welfare, RSPCA, The British Horse Society and British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), Dr Marlin and Dr Williams have produced an eye-catching poster that can be downloaded from the website, which provides a clear visual means of communicating how to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission on any equine yard.
Commenting on the two sets of guidance, Dr David Marlin said, “Our survey highlighted a number of concerns amongst owners, a large number of whom felt anxiety linked to how they’d cope if they were unable to get to the yard, either because of ill-health or the need to observe self-isolation protocol. Worryingly, the report also raised a red flag over the apparent lack of measures in place at equestrian establishments that were struggling to understand how they could act to stop the spread. While the number of coronavirus cases is falling, the message from the government is clear, there is no room for complacency in the fight against this virus, so it is imperative that all yards – including DIY livery yards – follow the recommended advice outlined in our guidance and take active steps to ensure the necessary Covid-secure measures are adopted.”
– ENDS – 
Note to editors:
The survey was carried out in October 2020 and 1541 responses were received. This survey is a follow-up to the survey launched in March 2020 and reported in Animals, 10(10), 1862 (, open access). 


About Author

Dr David Marlin is a physiologist and biochemist who has worked in academia, research and professional sport. He has worked in the equestrian and veterinary world and in human sport, healthcare, medicine and exercise science. In 1989 David obtained his PhD from the UK’s leading sports university, Loughborough University following a four-year study on the responses of Thoroughbred racehorses to exercise and training, undertaken at the renowned Animal Health Trust in Newmarket. You can read David's full biography in the Our Website section.