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    Horse tips during COVID-19 concerns

    The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a horseperson.

    So, how do we spend the period (weeks?, months?) between now and the end of the COVID-19 viral scare?

    From top to bottom, the COVID-19 crisis has affected all aspects of our local horse communities. Someday — hopefully later this spring — the gauntlet of rules and quarantines will pass, allowing us to return to our untethered equestrian lives. Those who are fortunate enough to be healthy but who may have a hiatus from work, school or other obligations because of lay-offs and closures — your horse is there.

    California is a big state with a variety of restrictions, so please check with local government constraints during the quarantine. For example, seven counties in Northern California have “shelter in place” orders from the State. Other counties have no reports of confirmed cases.

    Having said that, here are some tips for equestrians:

    Gatherings

    Bans on all gatherings of more than 10 people remain in effect. This means that any event larger than 10 people (e.g. horse shows, clinics, larger trail rides, conferences, etc.) are against federal recommendations, and in some areas, local laws.

    Equine Related Injuries – ERs and Hospitals

    During this time, exercise extreme caution in your own equine activities. Think twice about doing anything that might increase your risk of injury. The state continues to face shortages in the medical community, including reduced inpatient beds, availability of doctors, and sterile medical environments free of possible COVID-19 contamination. Trips to the ER increase your risk of contracting disease, and you may also be taking up medical resources that are needed by very sick people.

    Social Distancing for Stables – Best Practices

    The CDC and WHO also suggest the practice of social distancing. This should apply to all activities including equestrian activities at your farms, barns, and other agricultural buildings. Please ensure:

    1. A minimum space barrier of 6 feet between yourself and other people at all times. (e.g. no giving leg ups, no riding side by side, etc.)
    2. No more than 10 people in an area or present at an activity at one time.
    3. Sanitization of all common surfaces, supplies, and other items.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: A person CAN contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. The virus can survive from several hours up to a week on surfaces, depending on the type of surface, and the temperature and humidity. https://www.prevention.com/health/a31405079/how-long-does-coronavirus-live-on-surfaces/

    These objects found in and around your farms include but are not limited to:

    1. Tack and Apparel: Bridles, Saddles, Girths, Saddle Pads, Wraps, Helmets, Boots, and all other Leather and Cloth items.
    2. Communal Barn Supplies: Pitch forks, Wheelbarrows, Hoses, Grooming equipment, etc.
    3. Rest room, tack room, feed room door knobs, light switches, etc.

    We strongly advise you consider this when making decisions to continue your lesson programs and invite individuals including boarders to your facilities. You can find a list of disinfectant products that are effective in killing the COVID-19 virus here: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

    Business Insurance – Loss of Income Clauses

    If you own a business and are or expect to suffer a significant loss of revenue, we encourage you to check your business insurance policy for loss of income clauses and any recourse during a declared national or state of emergency.

    Horse Care & Welfare – Available Resources

    Finally, all members of California’s wide equestrian community should be thinking about how we can be prepared to help our fellow equestrians and their horses as the economic impact of the pandemic widens and is felt locally. If owners can no longer afford to care for their horses, contact association leadership and horse rescue operators for suggestions and options — before horses become abandoned or go without hay or feed.

    If you have helpful information or news to share, please send to news@horsetrader.com so we can post it on our online newspage and also on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

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