COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Guidance for Horseback Riding Schools and Stables / Boarding Stables
Source: Connecticut Department of Agriculture
HARTFORD, CT – In addition to implementing the Stay Home, Stay Safe protocols effective on March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. through April 22, 2020; Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7H required the Department of Economic and Community Development to provide a guidance document to determine essential businesses.
The Essential Businesses or Nonprofits designated in the guidance are not subject to the in-person restriction set forth in Executive Order 7H. Item 7 Services Including contained: “Animal shelters or animal care or management, including boarding, grooming, pet walking and pet sitting” as an essential business.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg), working in concert with the Connecticut Farm Bureau and the Connecticut Horse Council, recognizes that this is a challenging time for all – both equine boarding facilities and horse owners alike. It is our intent to ensure the health and welfare of animals is met, while mitigating the risk to the people engaged in those tasks. It is prudent for all of us to use common sense as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Every equine facility is unique with various capacities, services, and capabilities in providing the care essential to the wellbeing and health of the horses entrusted in their care.
Stables providing full-board services that meet all of the horses’ needs may set their own policies about restricting access by owners seeking to visit or ride horses. The Department supports limitations imposed by stable owners. Specific concerns regarding care should be addressed between the horse owner and stable owner/manager.
All stables should set up a schedule of access times to ensure that there are no more than five (5) people at the barn at one time. It is imperative that the principles of social distancing, proper disinfecting, and sanitary practices are maintained. Stables are free to enact additional measures and controls as needed to ensure the safety of all.
This guidance document cannot cover every single scenario. The following information is meant to clarify what equine activities may continue and which should be discontinued at this time.
Essential Equine Care
Providing food, water, proper handling, health care (veterinary and farrier services), and proper housing
Turnout and exercise necessary to an individual horse
Not Essential Equine Care
Visits to an equine facility by anyone other than an essential equine caregiver
Maintain the recommended social distancing protocols that include six (6) feet of separation between individuals
Limit gatherings to fewer than five (5) people
Ensure proper hand washing
Limit access to and disinfect common areas regularly
Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between people
Non-porous materials (leather bridles/saddles/halters, nylon halters/lead ropes, gate latches, door handles, spray nozzle) harbor the virus longer than porous materials (cotton lead ropes, saddle pads)
Clean communal leather tack daily with tack cleaner
Disinfect gate latches, spray nozzles, cross tie snaps, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, and other frequently used items regularly or after contact with personnel
Stall door latches, hose ends, light switches and feed scoops should be cleaned and disinfected frequently
Sporting events are prohibited
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state’s economy.For more information, visit www.CTGrown.gov.
The UConn Equine Extension program has two upcoming programs for horse owners, enthusiasts, and anyone else that wants to attend.
Latest Innovations and Research in Winter Horse Care – Join us on February 4th at 7 PM at the Eversource building in Newington for this presentation by Dr. Jenifer Nadeau. The event is free, and UConn ice cream will be served. Please RSVP so we can prepare. This event is sponsored by Connecticut Horse Council.
Connecticut Horse Symposium is Saturday, March 28th at the Horsebarn Hill Arena in Storrs. We have a full day of horses, friends, education, and fun planned. You can see the full schedule and register at: http://horsesymposium.uconn.edu/
The Department of Animal Science is offering the Winter Riding Program beginning January 8th and registration is now open! This would make a great gift for the equestrian on your list or yourself! Space is limited so reserve your spot today!
On December 7th the UConn Extension State 4-H Horse program hosted the Horsin’ In Stride workshop at the Storrs Campus for 4-H members and adults. This is the eighth year the event has taken place. Dr. Jenifer Nadeau and Emily McCabe Alger worked with the State 4-H Horse Advisory Committee to plan and implement the event. Workshop teachers included undergraduate students from UConn’s Equine Science program, UConn’s Animal Science faculty, and 4-H staff.
Kristen Greenwood presented a workshop that keyed in on visual identification of horses through observation of colors and markings. Participants learned color and marking terminology as well as how to communicate visual identification to another person. Sarah Heitzman presented a critically valuable program teaching form-to-function evaluation when selecting an equine for purchase. She also reviewed important information and questions to ask as a prospective buyer. Stephanie Watko presented a workout video designed to teach riders how to increase their balance and fitness level with a concentration on the core muscle groups. A disease workshop was presented by Jen Solter, and taught participants about the signs and symptoms of equine diseases and treatment. Breed Bingo was a fun, family friendly, and inventive workshop presented by Rachel Perkins. The game tested participants’ breed knowledge and taught them fun facts about various breeds of horses. Jessica Barry did a session on horse judging, covering what judges are looking for in the show pen. She also gave participants tips on how to better critically evaluate your own horse and rider performance. Emily and Dr. Nadeau orchestrated the holiday ornament session, where participants learned to engineer a horse ornament that will withstand the test of multiple holidays. Participants also interacted with Dr. Nadeau who happily answered many questions about the UConn Equine Science program.
Participants from New London, Tolland, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex and New Haven Counties attended Horsin’ In Stride, and workshops were given in four time slots. Thanks to all of those who attended and we commend the great job done by the undergraduate presenters. Bravo.