LET’S TALK ‘COVID-19 & HORSES

May 6, 2020

Week 7 in to lockdown in the UK I believe and for me the novelty is wearing off however, I am loving working from home; I feel like I get so much more done and feel more productive! Not to mention, the 20 second walk to my desk!

I know it sounds great rolling out of bed and wearing your PJ’s to work in but for me, every day I have got up, showered and got dressed to go downstairs to work from the dining room. This just makes me feel more awake and ready for the day. I have also felt like I have so much more energy with that extra hour in bed each morning and being able to finish work on the dot and I have managed to workout most days. Whether that be for a run, a HIIT workout or just some weight training.. Before I go to the horses!

I don’t know about you but when the lockdown first happened we were still allowed to go to the yard and attend to our horses whenever we pleased; I am really lucky to be on a small yard of 3 liveries however, as time went on and we had a potential Covid-19 scare we are now restricted so that there is only 1 livery on the yard at 1 time. During the week I finish work around 5 and then I am allowed to the yard which is fine for me as I have the rest of the evening to be able to spend as little or as long as I wish. At the weekends my time slots are 11-1 and then 6-7. Luckily, the yard owner puts the horses out and brings them in for me anyway every day as the yard is on her property.

Since this whole virus broke out I have been trying to take extra care when I am at the yard to keep me and my family safe when I leave and to prevent injuring myself and putting more strain on the NHS; who are doing an amazing job btw..

To ride or not to ride? This has been a huge subject over social media since lockdown begun and there is guidelines to say not to ride but this is not an order or a legal requirement so I think it is personal preference and down to the individual whether they would like to carry on riding or not while we are under these restrictions.
As I have mentioned before, having horses is not all about the riding for me and I ride Buddy for fun so I have put riding on the back seat for now but I may go on the odd hack maybe.. Before lockdown Adie was being backed by a lovely girl who I now call a friend but he wasn’t feeling quite right and pulled some stunt moves so we decided to pause his education for a while and have his back and saddle checked over.. But now I will have to wait until restrictions are lifted but 100% the right thing to do to keep pony and rider safe during this time.

I have put together below some changes you can make to make things safer for you and to help you while on lockdown to care for your horses..

  • Minimise time at the yard – I know it’s hard but once you have done your jobs you should probably go home and prevent being around others
  • Either choose to ride or to give your horse time off – This is a big decision, but apart from keeping your horse fit, there are no shows as of yet to train for. Some find riding stimulates their mind and helps with certain aspects of their health so carry on riding if this is the case.
  • Speak to the farrier – Each farrier will be different but most will still be working but with social distancing. If you have decided to rest your horse during lockdown, you could speak to your farrier to remove their shoes for the time being. This will also help with costs if you have been furloughed or are self employed and unable to work.
  • Take hand sanitiser & wear gloves – Carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you to put on before you go on the yard and when you leave. I have also found wearing gloves more beneficial as it prevents me from touching my face and I leave these at the yard at all times.
  • Turnout longer if possible – If you are on restrictions at your yard speak to your yard owner to see if you can turnout for longer to save you time when you are there. Likewise, if you have your own private yard, turnout for longer so you don’t have to make as many trips to the yard throughout the day.
  • Help eachother – If there are other liveries at your yard, speak to them and see if you can come to an agreement to help each other out. This can save you time, money and potentially help you out in the future if you can trust this person.
  • Phone your nearest tack/feed shop – Find out what restrictions and social distancing your local tack shop are doing so that you can prepare in advance to buy feed and bedding for your horse to prevent running out. The same applies to your local farmer or hay/haylage provider.
  • Exercise without riding – If you have decided to hang up your hat and boots during lockdown there are other ways you can exercise and stimulate your horse. Take them for in-hand walks around the countryside (if safe to do so, this will depend on your horse), set up grid work and small jumps and take your horse round in hand in the menage.

These are just some changes I have come up with that you can make to make things safer during this time. Things are harder for some than others and I totally get that.. No one is right or wrong, do what YOU want to do.

I hope that you are all safe and well along with your families and fury friends!

Thanks for reading, until next time..

Francesca x

 

 

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