During these times of uncertainty, it is important that we plan ahead for every eventuality – no matter how scary it may seem. It is advisable that horse owners create a care plan that documents the daily routine of their horse, contingent upon current circumstances.
If you are forced into self-isolation, or become ill with the virus, having a care plan will mean one less thing on your mind. Communication is key during this pandemic, and it is imperative that a yard manager or friend is aware of your horse’s routine in the event of self-isolation or illness. It is a sensible idea to write down your horse’s routine, including what they eat, how often they eat and their grazing habit – any horse owner will know that a disrupted routine can cause a horse to become unsettled and stressed.
Even if you’re not self-isolating or ill, it is still a good idea to share your horse’s routine with a buddy, therefore in the event of becoming ill you can help each other out. Equine specialist, Dr Mark Kennedy from the RSPCA has said that “the horse community is amazingly supportive and that owners often pitch in to help each other”.
In terms of essential stock, it is important that you have sufficient stock to last in the event of store closures, illness or self-isolation. As we have seen in the news, the repercussions of panic buying does not help the situation. We advise that you have enough feed to last you a few weeks – however, there is no need to stockpile.
If you are self-isolating, and you cannot take your horse away from the yard, why not try stable fixtures such as toys and sweet treats to bust boredom and keep their minds occupied. It is also advisable to increase turn out time if you are unable to ride - releasing unwanted energy and boisterousness.
A lot of horse owners have their animals on various supplements and medication. It may be a good idea to check your stock of these, especially prescribed medication that involves the vet. To provide a helping hand, we have reduced our supplement prices by 10% for one week only.
In the event of an accident, it is a good idea to have a first aid bag at the yard that is stocked with health and safety products for you and your horse – this is because vets are taking extra precautions about visiting yards unless it is an absolute emergency.
Hygiene is undoubtedly the most important aspect in virus containment. It is imperative that good hygiene practice is followed at the yard, as well as at home and work. If your yard consists of a washing station, make sure there is hand soap readily available and that people are regularly washing their hands. In addition, shared equipment is prime for germs and spreading of bacteria – to overcome this problem, simply wipe down wheelbarrows, forks and door handles with cleaning wipes or spray.
We understand that it is difficult not to panic under the circumstances, but it is important to follow the government’s advice. Taking extra precautions and following a strict hygiene routine will help to create a safer environment for you and your horse.