BEATING CORONAVIRUS ON THE YARD
During these difficult times we all need to pull together and make sure we are helping each other out as much as we can.
Below are some do and don’t’s to help you through these unknown times. (These extracts have been taken from articles and been put together to relate to horse owners and are only our guidelines).
GOING TO THE YARD
All yards have different rules and together, we need to respect them. We need to do this to try to protect the more vulnerable people, if your yard is still running as normal, here are some facts and top tips.
Coronavirus lives up to 72hours on surfaces, this includes horses so avoid hugging or patting your horse in case you are infected or your horse has been turned out with an infected horse.
There is no evidence horses, dogs or cats have any symptoms or can contract the virus but they can still carry the virus as droplets on their coat or fur.
Being outside does help, but the virus can still be contagious by landing on surfaces and passing through headcollars, saddles, rugs etc so do not share equipment.
YARD HOT SPOT AREAS
These will be communal areas such as water taps, gates, the hay barn and the feed room so please wear gloves. If you cough into your glove or any part of your clothing, please change immediately. It is a good idea to leave hand sanitisers in and around these areas and use before and after you do anything. Even if you are wearing gloves and then touch an infected tap, then your horse you could be at risk of contamination, so its advised that you either change your gloves or sanitise your hands.
WHY IS THE HAY BARN A RISKY AREA
When you fill your hay nets etc the hay does sometimes makes you sneeze or cough from the dust. Its easier said than done but please try and avoid doing this, having your own mask at hand and wearing this will help lessen this risk. As another precaution, separating your hay as far away from others and be extra vigilant not cough over other peoples hay or items.
SOME RULES SOME YARDS HAVE IMPOSSED AND WHY
Some yards have requested full turnout, mainly because on a DIY yard the owner would not physically be able to do all the horses on the yard or are not used to doing so. If you are worried about your horse, just think back to the times when you have been on holiday and haven’t wanted to pay full livery was it much hardship? Your horse will probably love the time out allowing them to just be a horse.
MY YARD HAS REQUESTED TURNOUT
So your yard has requested turnout and minimal visits.
What to do:
Your yard owner or one allocated person should try and do your horses water and hay to reduce hot spot areas if this hasn’t been implemented, it maybe worth requesting for this to happen.
RUGS – luckily the weather has started to improve so you may not even be rugging, but don’t forget, your horse is better off being a bit cold than hot so slightly under rug. This means over night your horse might be a bit chilly which will be fine but during the day, it means that they will not start to sweat which can then possibly cause colic. This means less work for the yard owner or allocated person if there’s a lot of horses.
FLY SEASON – So if your horse has sweet itch or struggles with flies, you may not be able to go up a few times day as you may usually do. This means that if it has rained, you have to go up to remove a fly rug or apply more fly spray. This maybe the best time to invest in FLY-OFF repellent bands, they are a great invention and they last upto 14 days and are waterproof. You may probably even save some money in the long run than buying lots of sprays. You don’t have to worry about rugs slipping or sprays wearing off, they can be placed around your horses legs by a safety band or placed in their mane or a safety head collar.
It is preferable to have individual turnout if you can or turnout with a friends horse imposing the same restrictions as yourself. You need to be mindful that a horse in a herd may pass the virus between each other so if you are handling your horse, Rey and keep this to a minimum or with clean gloves or thoroughly washed hands as someone could have already been up, breathed on their horse or touched them which could then pass on to your own horse which would then end up possibly effecting yourself. It’s not worth the risk.
Hotspot areas like gates, water taps and hay are just the same in the field as they are on the yard so it would be a good idea to put one person in charge of filling waters to stop cross contaminating on the tap.
KEEPING YOU AND YOUR HORSE SANE
So as we all know shows are cancelled and lessons have started to get cancelled/heading the same way, you also are probably not at the yard as often as usual. You probably have a one hour chit chat most days and now its a 5 mins, get on and do our jobs but below are some good ideas.
Going around online and websites is the big question of should I ride? The answer is use your common sense, no one wants the NHS to have unnecessary work if they can help it at these busy times and horses as we know are unpredictable, but we can still reduce the risk. It’s a windy day and that means your horse will probably be more spooky, this is probably a day that you say no to riding, I’ll stick to lunging or if you are lucky to have a horse walker, you can pop your horse on there. You’re better off being safe than sorry.
REMEMBER to not share equipment including whips and lunge ropes that you sometimes use that are left in the menages and schools.
If your horse has any issues or you know you have a heightened chance of falling off, if you have the facilities maybe think about turning them out for a few weeks, the break might do them the world of good.
I own a hot warmblood and a safe cob, ive chosen to turn my warmblood out and do a bit more on my cob. She is safe and the risk of an accident is very unlikely, so I have given us something to aim for in these unknown times. I have never been one to do dressage on her but this month im going to try E-RIDERS online dressage starting with Intro, then my aim is to do Prelim by the end of summer!
SHOWJUMPING is obviously more of a risk to you than dressage and improving your dressage can really help with your show jumping, so why not try a few dressage tests with E-RIDERS. We all know how time consuming and a pain it is to put jumps up and down and this is going to be another HOT SPOT area for the virus to sit on and be passed between everyone at the yard.
Again, with EVENTING, it’s going to most probably be more risky than showjumping. But E-RIDERS hold BE dressage tests, so why not improve your dressage score so once everything gets back to normal and shows are back on, you can start your eventing days off with an improved dressage test.
ONLINE TRAINING CLASSES
If you set yourself a dressage target. there are hundreds of FREE online videos on You Tube. H&C TV also have quite a few training videos on their app. E-Riders Online Dressage also has an E-CLINIC where you can ride your test, it then gets marked by a qualified judge and then an instructor watches and gives you tips and a lesson plan to on what you can improve on. You can then redo the same test and it can be judged again. This is a great motivator and gives you and your horse something to aim and work towards.
From someone who has never competed in dressage to a you have to a GP Gold rider, E-Riders hold monthly competition classes, leagues and championships all marked by BD judges and its so exciting on results day when you’re waiting for the results! So what are you waiting for? Go and visit their website, Facebook and online profiles to find out how to enter this amazing idea!