Horse Sport Ireland have proactively engaged with their Government partners in both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media with regard to the resumption of sport horse activity.

Please refer to relevant Statutory Instrument of 2020 Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (COVID-19) (NO. 9) Regulation 2020 which provide for competition and training events held under the authority of Horse Sport Ireland as exempted events during Level 5.

In consultation with Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Horse Sport Ireland will have the sole authority to approve competition and training events which are applied for by a recognised affiliate body.

Competition Events – Level 5
In brief, the approval system will comprise of the following;

· Formal application by the affiliate for the relevant events which has been verified and endorsed by the affiliate in the first instance;

· Confirmation of relevant risk assessment completion and associated assessment in line with public health guidance;

· Confirmation of COVID Officer appointment and adherence of HSI COVID protocols revised edition November 2020, by affiliate body and the show organiser;

· Signed declaration by both affiliate & organiser that strict adherence to the COVID protocols;

· Acknowledgement that any departure from the COVID 19 Protocols will result in non-approval of the affiliate application for that venue in subsequent applications;

This approval system will apply for both affiliated competition and training events.

Level 5 events should focus on catering for professional sport horse athletes & producers, high performance and/or sport horse athletes and individuals who participate within professional competition.

No amateur competitions or classes will be permitted during Level 5.

No youth competitions (U18) or classes will be permitted during Level 5.

Training Events – Level 5
Under Level 5 – only events that are authorised through a HSI affiliate and Horse Sport Ireland are deemed to be authorised events within the context of the Statutory Instrument. Training events must be affiliated and applied for through the HSI approval system as noted above. For example – affiliated Arena Training Series / Regional Training /

Young Horse Training/ General Training Events. Training events are defined as the following:

(a) to be held in preparation for a sporting event,

(b) that is supervised by a NGB coach/trainer.

(c) that is attended only by necessary persons;

Horse Sport Ireland the reserve right in respect of the authorisation of affiliated competition and training events.

Training – Level 5
· Non-contact training only in pods of up to 15, exemption for High Performance.

· One to one and pod coaching is permitted.

· Indoor training limited to individual basis only.




Coronavirus Covid-19 update



At the Sport Ireland Institute our aim is to create a safe training environment, where athletes can be ensured that the risk of contracting the virus is low. Our aim is also to ensure we remain open to support you during the coming period of facility closures nationally. The measures we currently have in place to safeguard athletes and staff include:

  • Restricted list of essential users only with each sport have access to the building.
  • Daily screening on entry of all users of the Institute so early symptoms can be identified.
  • Strict policy for all users of any symptoms, no entry with follow up from one of our medical team.
  • Focus on good hygiene practice and social distancing.
  • Stringent cleaning x3 times a day which involves daily spraying of equipment.
  • Investment in SUREWASH hand hygiene. As the single biggest preventer of the spread, we encourage you all to use this to ensure excellence in hand washing technique.
  • Regular communication with NGB’s regarding travel plans and advice to risk minimisation as much as possible.

All eventualities have been considered and all service provision have detailed plans to continue care. Our fundamental aim is to stay open and provide safe training environment for athletes preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic games. For this to occur we need your full cooperation and honesty.

The below evidence-based answers and useful information was also provided by the Sport Ireland Institute:
Is it preventable?

There is no vaccine available yet, however this is preventable from spreading if good hygiene measures are taken which are outlined below.

Is it inevitable I will get it?

No. This can be prevented by taking appropriate measures. As with high performance training we would expect athletes to show leadership on how to maintain hygiene.

What should I do if I feel unwell?

Do You have:

  • Cough
  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Feel short of breath or have difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling excessively tired

If Yes:

  • Stay at home, phone your GP, emergency department (ED)
  • Call HSE 1850 24 1850 for general advice
  • Stay indoors
  • Avoid contact with other people
  • Follow this advice even if your symptoms are mild


Do not go to your GP’s surgery, ED or healthcare centre or Sport Ireland Institute – phone them first. This is so you do not accidentally put other people at risk. Your GP or doctor will tell you over the phone what to do next.

How sick will I be if I do contract COVID-19?

80% of illnesses are mild and do not require medical attention. In a young athletic cohort (18-35 yrs.) as few as 5% will require hospital

How can I protect myself from getting the 2019-nCoV infection?

You should always practice good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene. Hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene are a series of actions to take which are designed to reduce the spread of infection, including 2019-nCoV, to yourself and others. These actions include regular handwashing and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the bend of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

Hand hygiene: Wash your hands regularly.

You should wash your hands:

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • Before, during and after you prepare food
  • Before eating
  • After using the toilet
  • When caring for the sick
  • When hands are dirty
  • After handling animals or animal waste

Wash your hands with soap and running water when hands are visibly dirty. If your hands are not visibly dirty, wash them with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Soap and water are shown to be as good as expensive antiseptic solutions, it really comes down to technique.

Respiratory hygiene:

Cover your mouth and nose with a clean tissue when you cough and sneeze and then promptly dispose of the tissue in a bin and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow instead, not into your hands.

Social distancing:

This is avoiding any unnecessary contacts, and keeping a 1m distance between you and others when possible.

Does my sport place me at higher risk?

It potentially does, if one plays a contact sport or a team sport there are more contacts which increase risk; training outdoors and in well ventilated areas appears to reduce risk.

Do I need to wear a facemask to protect me from 2019-nCoV?

The WHO (World Health Organisation) has produced guidance on the use of facemasks during the 2019-nCoV outbreak. For members of the general public in the community setting who are feeling well and do not have respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, fever, shortness of breath), facemasks are not recommended because there is no evidence that using masks in this setting is of any benefit in people who are not sick.
In fact, you potentially increase your risk by using a facemask as you are handling a surface that has been exposed for a period of time and you could be touching droplets. There is also a shortage of supplies of facemask globally and these are very useful for people to wear when they have symptoms to stop spread and thus should be used then.

People who may need to use facemasks include:

  • People with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV infection who have respiratory symptoms.
If there is a case at the Institute or in my team/ contacts what happens?

Any close contacts will be notified by public health and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Their exposure to an environment (i.e. Institute) will ensure that the area has a deep clean and normal activities are resumed as soon as possible (generally within 48hrs).

Screening at the Institute

Since Tuesday this week, all users of the SII have been required to do a daily screen which involves a symptoms questionnaire and temperature check. If you are positive to these, you will be asked to leave and self-isolate at home and the medical team will follow up with a phone call within 24-48hrs. We would encourage you to report any illness prior to coming to the Institute and this can be discussed in advance.
We ask you to be as honest on this as possible. It would appear that COVID-19 can start as mild symptoms in early stages in 18-30 year olds and so early identification of symptoms will prevent contacts.

Any other tips

Certain items should be cleaned daily and build this into your regular daily routine:

  • Phone
  • Laptop
  • Watch
  • Keys
  • Headphones

If a period of self-isolation is required, ensure that you have somewhere this can be done and potential alternative training plans that can be done on your own and access to equipment if needed.
Have enough food stored with sufficient protein/ carbohydrate/ fats.

Useful websites

The most up-to-date source of guidance is the Health Protection Surveillance Centre ( which has developed a helpful FAQ. In addition to general information, it also includes information on prevention, signs/symptoms/ travel advice and the global situation.

The HSE also have a useful website.

Travel advisory for proposed destinations from the department of foreign affairs.

See link to affected areas:


Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) are in constant contact with key partners such as Sport Ireland, Sport Ireland Institute, and the FEI to monitor the situation both in Ireland and globally around the current Coronavirus outbreak. Further, Horse Sport Ireland are following all the official circulars and guidance issued by the Department of Health and the Government of Ireland.

We urge all stakeholders to follow Government advice and information, which is regularly updated on the


The current BHS advice on what equestrian activities are safe and advisable can be found HERE.


For those with travel concerns, there is specific advice available on The Government published their action plan on 11 March, which outlines the measures in force to contain the spread of the virus. There is presently no rationale to close or cancel equestrian events, but this may change quickly as the situation evolves. We would strongly recommend everyone in the equestrian community to follow the official guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus to help in the containment process.


For IRL athletes in Europe, please contact the Organising Committee in the member state you are competing to ensure the event will proceed and check official government websites within that member state for up to date guidance. Horse Sport Ireland will contact athletes where the FEI and the OC inform the NF of a cancellation of an event due to the outbreak. Horse Sport Ireland will assist athletes to redirect to other events where available.

  • Regularly check for updates and ensure that your plans are in line with government advice.
  • Including COVID-19 in the risk assessment (including any specific risk factors around the local area from which supporters are travelling) and where any additional risks are flagged, considering whether further mitigation measures are required.
  • Review medical plans to ensure that they include procedures for dealing sensitively with any person in the ground who presents with symptoms of COVID-19. Some sports grounds have found it useful to produce a specific COVID-19 Standing Operational Procedure (SOP) to share with staff.
  • Give clear guidance to staff and stewards on how to deal with potential cases of COVID-19 and issues such as the appropriateness of face masks – ensure that all the agency/public services (e.g. police, ambulance personnel) working at the ground are informed.
  • Review business continuity and contingency plans for supply chain disruption and staff/public service shortages (including medical staff, ambulance and police personnel).
  • Providing additional hand washing and/or sanitising facilities for staff and the public.
  • Communicating with fans (e.g. don’t come to a match if you feel unwell, wash hands regularly, follow the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it campaign).
  • Before taking decisions about changes to events or your safety management operation, ensure that all the potential safety implications have been considered, and you have consulted with the Certifying Authority/SAG members and other stakeholders where appropriate.
  • Ensure that, where appropriate, your plans align with those of the local authority, emergency and health services.

Guidance for the Covid 19 (Coronavirus) for the Republic of Ireland from the Health Services Executive can be found HERE. As many sporting organisations operate on an all-island basis we would ask that you are aware of advice that covers across both jurisdictions and take the necessary steps.


As the situation around the current Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak is constantly evolving and is impacting many communities, we all need to be aware that it is everyone’s responsibility to help minimise the spread of the virus through containment. In order to achieve that goal, we must all keep ourselves updated on the latest advice, both from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our own national or local authorities.

For more information, click on the following links:

IOC President’s interview on the current state of preparation for Tokyo

Summer IF Update COVID-19

Tokyo 2020 On Coronavirus – Info for Stakeholders

WHO 2019 – Mass Gatherings

Stakeholder FAQs

Mass Gathering guidance


Equestrian related coronavirus biosecurity signage downloads:

For professionally printed services, please contact Primecourt Printing Services and quote ‘Horse Sport Ireland COVID-19 Signage’ for all your needs. Primecourt also provides additional COVID-19 Signage that can be found on their website.

Sign 1 HSE Coronavirus:  HSE Coronavirus A4 Download

Sign 2 Hygiene Station: Hygiene Station A4 Download

Sign 3 Social Distancing: Social Distancing A4 Download

Sign 4 Social Distancing Car Park: Social Distancing Car Park A4 Download

Sign 5 One Groom Per Rider: One Groom Per Horse Coronavirus A4 Download

Sign 6 One Way System:  One Way System Coronavirus A4 Download