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Farewell happy place - Ontario riding facilities must close

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  • Farewell happy place - Ontario riding facilities must close

    With the province-wide emergency closures announced by the Ontario government, riding facilities have been advised by the provincial equestrian association that they have to close and only essential staff members are allowed on the property. They have further clarified that it applies to boarding / lesson facilities of all sizes, whether or not they are open to the public.

    I understand the need and think it’s the best decision right now, but am sad about losing that little slice of normalcy in these strange times. Thankful that I board somewhere where the horses will still be well fed, turned out, and well-cared for. Not everyone has that.

  • #2
    I'm fully prepared to park my LQ at my barn if I need to (we're self care and there is no barn staff at all).
    Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?


    • #3
      I really can't see how they will enforce this!
      They are 'recommending' and 'strongly urging' ... they are not telling people they 'must' close down.
      Perhaps for huge lesson barns it makes sense, but for small private facilities it seems a bit much.
      I have my own property and all 4 horses here are my own but I often have a friend over to ride with me once the weather/footing are good. How can they tell me I can't have friends here to go for a ride?!
      As well, I do not have an indoor so right now we are boarding a pony at a small boarding barn with an indoor. There are about a dozen stalls and the owner does all the chores. The owner is not at all worried about any of her boarders bringing in the virus, nor am I. I have been there all alone each and every time I have been there to ride in the past two weeks. Of course it is up to her to make the decision, and I am lucky I can bring our guy home if she decides to 'close'.


      • #4
        My barn is very small in an isolated area., I am usually the only rider there. I am far less at risk of either getting or transmitting Covid than I would be getting necessary groceries.
        ETA - BO just messaged all boarders (4 of us!) to schedule our visits so no overlap. Outside coaches are cancelled. no vet visits pending, farrier was here last week so we should be good.


        • #5
          My trainer normally has large lessons in the evenings. She is offering daytime lessons of no more than 3 people to help spread everyone out. There's also a real effort to keep distance in the barn aisle, tack room, etc.
          A proud friend of bar.ka.


          • #6
            I have a small barn with a few students. I was not worried at all and did intend to continue lessons until this came down. The irony is that I and my family will be at risk of greater exposure after the schools reopen and lessons resume.
            No matter where you go, there you are


            • #7
              This is a recommendation by the provincial association. It is not a government mandate. The association does not really have the power to enforce this. However I think there might be different calculations for big busy children's lesson barns and smaller barns with adult owners.


              • #8
                I saw on FB someone lived in a country where all riding was banned because of the risk of injury requiring hospitalization when the hospitals and emergency medical services were already over capacity. I don't think we're there yet, but we should probably be decreasing our acceptable level of risk for the duration.


                • #9
                  The way our horses are head tied or on crossties puts them 12 feet apart. If it's a lesson the only person going into that space is the instructor.
                  "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                    This is a recommendation by the provincial association. It is not a government mandate. The association does not really have the power to enforce this. However I think there might be different calculations for big busy children's lesson barns and smaller barns with adult owners.
                    its following a direct statement in an emergency measures act that refers to indoor recreation establishments must close.

                    Time management tough for you? 42 great tips and support through this course!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by brody View Post

                      its following a direct statement in an emergency measures act that refers to indoor recreation establishments must close.
                      So theoretically it wouldn't apply to pasture horses and trail riding?


                      • #12
                        Alberta declared a provincial emergency today as well. Still waiting to see what that means for us. Dog parks are closed apparently. I'm just wondering what I'm supposed to do with my horse...he's at a barn that doesn't offer any blanketing or grain feeding for outdoor do I just dress him in a medium weight and then hope for the best? He looses a lot of weight on hay alone, and I seriously can't afford stall board now that I'll be loosing a large chunk of income. I'm currently treating a wound...I guess I just leave it if the BO won't keep an eye on it? I also work at a different barn and if we close at least we have full care for outdoor horses.


                        • #13
                          When I woke up this morning I was debating pulling my mare from her larger winter facility with an indoor. The owner was NOT taking precautions with disinfecting, still running camp and allowing excessive visitors. The barn is large enough that if the owner was sick, the horses would not be cared for and would likely be left outside 24/7, with hay if and when someone was able to get to it... and with big turnout groups they go through hay fast.

                          I felt like a bit of a lunatic, but my home barn is small, my best friend runs it and we take care of eachother. I am her barn help if she gets sick. We are so close if one is sick, the other likely is not far behind. Even if she closes, I will still be able to access her place.

                          It makes sense for my horse to be home, but I still felt pretty paranoid.

                          By 6pm the email from OE had come out confirming that the SOE order regarding mandated closures of indoor recreation facilities applying to riding facilities.

                          I no longer feel paranoid. My horse will be off the trailer and at home by noon.

                          I hope most riding facilities play by the rules and close. It ABSOLUTELY sucks. But if everyone thinks they are the exception, it helps no one. The government isn't trying to do this to make us miserable, they are trying to keep us safe.


                          • #14
                            From Spain


                            • #15
                              It sucks, but better safe than sorry. I have to take public Transit to get to the barn and back and it's not worth the risk to my own family.

                              I am thankful and trust the BO to keep an eye on my girl. And my vet is still doing farm calls for now at least.


                              • #16
                                At this point it isn't so much about transmission at the barn, but
                                a) If someone gets hurt and needs an ambulance or hospital they are contributing to overwhelming the healthcare system for a recreational activity
                                b) If someone gets hurt, the insurance will likely be null and void since it was made clear that riding facilities fall under the mandate.

                                My barn is still allowing boarders to come out to do blanket changes, and grain their horses (for those that need it and are out 24/7). I told them I would be out late evenings until something changes.
                                One of mine tends to drop some weight in the spring, he gets tired of hay, but there isn't enough grass this time of year to sustain him.


                                • #17
                                  Yes, it is very much about insurance. It's also about "the greater good." Why should riding facilities be open when everything else non-essential is closed? It sucks, but we have to do our part to flatten the curve.

                                  Happy my horses are in professional facilities with great care and fabulous staff. I saw this possibly coming and made sure to restock supplements and the cookie jar last week. They will be fine, and will probably even benefit a bit from a mini vacation, snackin' on round bales in the spring sun.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                                    This is a recommendation by the provincial association. It is not a government mandate. The association does not really have the power to enforce this. However I think there might be different calculations for big busy children's lesson barns and smaller barns with adult owners.
                                    The government mandate is that indoor recreation facilities MUST close. The legal opinion sought by the provincial association is that all riding facilities meet the definition of indoor recreation facilities - ie the purpose of being there is for recreation, not for work or an essential service. The legal advice our barn owners received from their lawyers agrees with this position.

                                    More importantly, we all need to just stay the F- home right now, as much as we can. New research shows this virus can remain on surfaces for days, and may be transmitted by air. We don’t need to put the barn staff who have to be there at risk, just so we can play with our ponies. Obviously in a self-care barn it’s different, but most of us paying board do so because we trust the staff to properly care for our horses.

                                    Link to article about how long virus remains viable in air and on surfaces:


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by RedHorses View Post
                                      I saw on FB someone lived in a country where all riding was banned because of the risk of injury requiring hospitalization when the hospitals and emergency medical services were already over capacity. I don't think we're there yet, but we should probably be decreasing our acceptable level of risk for the duration.
                                      That’s an excellent consideration as well.


                                      • #20
                                        Does the directive apply to backyard horses or just to commercial boarding barns?