With the spread of Corona Virus on the up-rise the Government has advised everyone to have minimal contact with others, and if it’s a possibility, to self-isolate. But how is this possible for horse owners and equestrians?
When it comes to owning a horse, we all know hygiene and cleanliness can sometimes go out the window, right? But now is the time we should be more vigilant with the things we would typically skip doing when down at the stables!
Here are ways equestrians can help minimise the risk of getting, or spreading, Corona Virus when owning a horse…
Bring Hand Sanitizer EVERYWHERE With You
Before you head off to the stables, bring a bottle of your own hand sanitizer with you. Perhaps your stables already have some at-hand for everyone (which is great!), but it’s best to bring your own supply with you to keep at-hand at all times.
– Remember, once you’ve used any hand-sanitizer, try to prevent touching your horse’s eyes or mouth until it has fully dried.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
We all know this is something we tend to skip when we’re down at the stables, because frankly, what’s the point? But with the spread of Corona Virus now is the time to get in the habit of washing your hands thoroughly and regularly!
If your yard doesn’t supply hand-wash, make sure to bring your own bottle with you or speak to your yard owner to request some.
We advise washing your hands:
- Before heading to the stables
- Every 20-30 minutes
- After any contact with somebody else
- Before AND after using shared belongings or equipment
- Once you’ve got home
Avoid Touching Your Face
Although you may think you haven’t been near, or touch somebody else whilst you’re at the yard, it is best to avoid touching your face as a precaution.
Dispose Of Tissue Correctly
If you have sneezed or coughed into tissue at the yard, ensure you’re disposing of it correctly. If your yard doesn’t have a closed-bin, dispose of it in your tackroom correctly or put it in a plastic bag, take it home with you and dispose of it correctly back at home.
Speak To Your Yard Owner
Your yard may already have rules set in place for everyone regarding the virus. However, if they have not provided any advice/guidance, it may be best to call/message them to see if they have any guidelines set into place. This way everyone can be on the same page when visiting the stables.
– If your yard doesn’t already, set up a WhatsApp group so everybody can stay in the loop!
Pick A Farm Buddy!
We advise budding-up with someone at the yard. Once you have picked a buddy, send eachother a check-list for your horse so they know what they’ll need to do should you be ill or unfit to visit the yard. For example, your horse’s feed, rugging, bedding etc.
If you’re hacking out, choose a time of day when it will be quiet on the bridlepaths. (That may be early mornings or evenings). Also, avoid going on any long hacks at this point in time and keep your hack/circuit small.
Try to hack-out alone is possible. If your horse lacks confidence hacking out, read our ‘Nervous Hacker to Happy Hacker’ blog post for some tips and tricks!
Now is the perfect time to focus on schooling! With Spring just around the corner, now is a great excuse to get your horse working/getting fit for the upcoming seasons.
As you don’t want your horse to get bored, try to mix things up in the menage. This could be lunging, dressage tests, pole work, jumping, loose-lunging etc.
If you have planned to take your horse out for the day in the horse box, we strongly advise postponing or cancelling this if possible. The organisation may have already sent out messages about their open times/event, so make sure to check their Facebook Page/emails regularly leading up to the event for any updates.
Prevent Sharing Equipment With Others
For many yards, sharing equipment and belongings is a common practise. And although it is great to help one another out, we advise now is best to minimise sharing/lending equipment out with your farm-friends!
If you share forks/brushes, wheelbarrows or horse equipment with somebody else, ensure you’re both regularly washing your hands.
If it is impossible to share certain equipment with others, it may be best to grab yourself some disposable gloves. Again, once you have worn, slide them off turning them inside out and dispose of them correctly.
This might be a great time to pick-up your own equipment / necessities !
Distance From Farm-Neighbours
Socialising with farm-friends plays a big part in having fun down at the stables. However unfortunately, now is best to minimise socialising/hangout with your farm friends!
Choose A Quieter Time Of Day To Visit The Yard
For some, this may be difficult to do should you have work or other commitments. However, if you are currently off work or school, it may be best to head up to the stables during the day.
If your farm-buddy is heading up later on in the afternoon, ask them to see to your horse in the evening to feed or bring your horse in from the field to save you another trip to the yard.
Silver Lining – Time To Focus On Your Horse
With all the negativity surrounding Covid-19, there sure is a silver lining for horse owners… spending more quality time with our horse. As you are now minimising your contact with humans, it gives us a great reason to spend more quality time with our four-legged-friends! Whether that’s grooming, giving them some therapy treatment or bonding exercises in the menage.
This also gives us another reason to tackle the tackroom! This is probably something you (and us!) have been putting off since the start of Winter! As Spring is just around the corner, now is a great time to give your tackroom a thorough spring-clean.
Stock Up On Horse Supplies
All our Naylors stores are currently open until further notice for you to come and grab all your supplies! If you’re planning a visit soon, it may be best to stock up on your necessities (i.e. feed, rugs, bedding etc) in one visit!
However, if you are currently ill, self-isolating or worried about social interaction – don’t worry! – you can grab most of your horse supplies online that can be delivered to either your home or the stables.
Taking Those Precautions
To ensure you and other’s stay safe, now is the time to be making more sensible decisions. if you have recently been on holiday, have become ill and have symptoms association with Corona Virus, try to avoid visiting the stables and instead self-isolate and seek advise from your GP. If you’re on a livery/part-livery yard, it may be best to get them to do your horse. Alternatively, ask a farm-friend to see to your horse for you until advised from your doctor otherwise.
For more advise and guidance, visit The British Horse Society website here.
We hope this sheds light on ways to help reduce and prevent the risk of catching Corona Virus when owning a horse. If you have any of your own advise, please do share with us in the comments below!