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Am I the only one NOT riding due to "shelter in place"?

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  • I board at a self care barn with 7 horses. We put protocols in place this week where everyone has their own pitchfork and broom, we have a bleach solution to wipe down all shared stuff. We are doing the best we can. As for riding, I am so busy dealing with the pandemic crisis at work that I'm not riding for that reason, otherwise I might just to keep the pony sane.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by mika0116 View Post

      I would suggest a strict no-riding policy. Lunging, hand walking, etc. I would have a sign up sheet via google docs/ email list where only 1 or 2 people are on site at a time. Schedule / assign chores to less than 3 people to cover "full service for all animals", preferably people who are already vectors.

      I can describe a full methodology to do this as generally outlined above. I would imagine most people with some basic project management / work experience would be able to figure this out in about 2 hours for their facility.

      Self care barns are hard because it would be difficult to have cohesion across all members. It would be nearly impossible to enforce unless everyone acts "for the greater good". In this thread, we have seen such disparate stances that in reality, the plan would likely have a high failure rate.

      Food for thought in addition to the above would be also to have a contingency plan in place in case you / your extended network is unable to directly care for your animal.

      I refuse to own a horse in my current location and there is not adequate turn out / services available if something were to happen to me financially or physically. This is a sacrifice I made despite being able to afford and maintain a very nice horse. I lease instead so that if something awful were to happen, I am released in 30 to 60 days from the obligation.

      Due to the nature of my employment, I am sadly acutely aware that sometimes wild sh*t happens. I don't want to be in a position where I feel pressure to morally choose between caring for animal and an epidemic impacting overall public health.

      Best thing would be to wear gloves, go out at VERY odd hours, wash all common areas down with a bleach solution (anyone familiar with a Strangles routine should know this is a pretty effective method). ANIMALS themselves are vectors. The virus can live on their bodies... don't touch the barn cat or the barn dog.

      Shower, do laundry and disinfect your car immediately.

      These are all great ideas. I know that my trainers are implementing a staggered shift policy, where one of them takes the AM, one takes the PM. This is so if one of them gets sick, hopefully the other trainer is able to care for the horses. As of a few days ago they have asked clients not to come to the barn, which is definitely the right choice in their circumstance.

      And yes, coming in and removing/changing/washing clothes no matter where we have been (barn, grocery store, gas station) is essential, I think.
      Last edited by Hoofbeat_Heartbeat; Mar. 25, 2020, 11:36 AM. Reason: Spelling!


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by GoodTimes View Post
        Just a reminder that in many places right now it is the MINIMUM STANDARD OF CARE which is allowed. For most of us that may not fall in line with our standard of care. Tough nuts. For the sake of the safety of our human loved ones, we need to deal with it.

        In Canada nearly 50% of our cases are now from community transmission, not from travel. That's huge. Asymptomatic transmission is scary.

        Please, please, please stay home. Please stop riding. Minimum care. Many of the excuses that I'm hearing are simply excuses. Please do not try to look for loopholes. Consider what is morally the right thing to do.
        Great point to bring up!


        • Originally posted by Hoofbeat_Heartbeat View Post

          Great point to bring up!
          I mean, do stalls REALLY need to get picked?? Do horses REALLY need to get turned out? Do they REALLY need to be fed twice a day?

          This can turn into a monster slippery slope if not clearly defined.


          • Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

            I mean, do stalls REALLY need to get picked?? Do horses REALLY need to get turned out? Do they REALLY need to be fed twice a day?

            This can turn into a monster slippery slope if not clearly defined.
            We have an equine code of practice in Canada which defines basic minimum care quite clearly


            • Originally posted by BigMama1 View Post

              We have an equine code of practice in Canada which defines basic minimum care quite clearly
              Can you post a link? I don't know of such a thing for my area, it would be good to read.


              • Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                Can you post a link? I don't know of such a thing for my area, it would be good to read.
                Ask and ye shall receive!


                • I live in Ontario, where a state of emergency has been declared for over week. The barn where I board two horses has been closed for over a week to EVERYONE, except two family members of the barn owner who take care of the horses. I get daily videos and pics, which I love and am deeply appreciate for. One of my horses is coming off an injury that required stitches. He’s doing great!

                  My vet and farrier will not be visiting farms that do not restrict ALL unnecessary people from the barn, as per the law.

                  Furthermore, I have no interest in riding in case I fall off, I would not want to take valuable medical services from others.

                  Bottom line, in a pandemic, we need to do everything we can to fight this virus.

                  If we don’t win, people will look at your horse as meat.


                  • Originally posted by ghst13 View Post
                    FYI, MD Horse Council put out clarification on their Facebook page last night:

                    "We understand that there has been some confusion about the intent and effect of the Maryland Department of Agriculture message issued on March 24. In consultation with MDA, it is clear the Governor wants everyone to stay at home. Unless your horse relies on only you for suvival, e.g., food, water and shelter, you are not essential. This means no visiting/grooming/riding/lungeing, etc. your horse if it is boarded somewhere other than your own property. Many of the boarding barns are embracing this guidance because it helps ensure that the people who are, in fact, responsible for your horse's food, water and shelter stay healthy. #flattenthecurve"
                    Ah, that explains the update email they just sent out saying they had gotten a lot of push back and angry emails (from people who think MHC is setting the rules, not merely trying to explain them as a public service). They walked back from that Facebook post a bit:

                    "1. The statement put out by MDA/MHIB yesterday was approved by the Governor's office. The points made in that statement are considered guidelines and not law. The law is no more than 10 people in a gathering or on a farm at one time and to practice social distancing of 6 feet from another person.

                    2. Farm owners/operators decide who is considered essential staff. That can include exercise of horses. Exercise of horses is considered recommended care. However, if the farm owner wants to exclude all people from his/her property that is their right, including full care boarders if they regard them as non essential. If they regard them as essential care, they can allow them on, but they must practice social distancing and no more than 10 people at one time."
                    So basically the governor wants you to stay home so please do so but if you don't want to then it's not illegal so have at it. It's frustrating because I think what you posted is what should be happening and it would be easier for BOs to exclude people if everyone was doing it or they could blame the government. Now that it's clear it's optional, there will be more pressure on BOs to stay open.
                    Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm:


                    • Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                      I mean, do stalls REALLY need to get picked?? Do horses REALLY need to get turned out? Do they REALLY need to be fed twice a day?

                      This can turn into a monster slippery slope if not clearly defined.
                      Yes they do. Colic and hoof issues and subsequent vet bills is not what folks need right now.
                      "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


                      • Originally posted by BigMama1 View Post

                        Our barn is currently completely closed to boarders but is discussing doing a similar thing with one at a time visits, but only outdoor visits to the paddock, so that there is nobody inside the facility and no touching of common surfaces. Even then, with zero human contact, we are not staying home, so is it ethically ok?
                        My state has an exemption for leaving the house to go care for your animals and engage in outdoor activities without anyone around. The interpretation was that people visiting the barn one at a time qualify for both, which makes sense to me.


                        • Has anyone seen guidance for WA state? I've checked our list of essential businesses and don't see horse stables on there, but it's a little unclear. I'm happy not to ride and this thread's given me good reasons so I am now leaning this way...but it's also my mental health outlet so I'm struggling a bit.


                          • I posted by own thread but I was driving the barn last night (to give ulcer meds) and thinking, the riskiest place right now is the barn. Because people aren't taking it seriously there.

                            I show up and barn owner tells me that an employee was just taken away in an ambulance for not being able to breath. She is older. She had been sick for 5 days. I'm not sure if she was working that whole time or not.

                            I am among those who felt a bit safer at the barn (although I was careful.) But now I wonder why?
                            This barn was especially lax about it all though.