This page is currently being updated following the latest national lockdown announcement on Monday 4 January.
Care for your horse during COVID-19
The most recent government advice taken from gov.uk website (last updated 12.10.2020) on for caring for animals including horses states:
You must follow the rules on self isolation if you:
- have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild
- test positive for coronavirus
- have been abroad and told to quarantine on your return
Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus
- You may leave your house to provide care for your horse or livestock.
- You must stay 2 metres away from others.
- You should remember to wash your hands before and after contact with any animals.
- You may ride your horse
*It is important to follow the latest government restrictions updated on 1st November which come into effect from 5th November 2020:
‘You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).’
If your horse needs urgent attention from a farrier
If your horse requires urgent attention from a farrier, you should phone the farrier to arrange the best approach to meet your horses’ needs.
You and the farrier must ensure that you keep 2 metres apart and wash your hands before and after contact with the horse.
Advice if you have symptoms of coronavirus and must remain at home for 7 days, or 14 as a household
If you have a horse in livery, you must not visit them whilst you are self-isolating. You should contact your yard manager or vet to make suitable welfare arrangements.
If you have livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, or any other types of livestock you should arrange for someone else who is not self-isolating to care for your animals.
Where this is not possible you should ensure the basic needs of your animals are met. You must make sure you wash your hands before and after handling your animals and ensure you remain 2 metres away from other people.
If you are too unwell to care for your animals and there is no one to help, you should call your local authority.
This is a deeply worrying time for everyone, whether you are looking after horses from home or if they are kept at a livery yard. It is important to consider, who is going to care for your horse/s if you have to self-isolate or come down with the Coronavirus.
It’s a good idea to buddy up with someone on your yard if possible, to share daily welfare checks and to also have a clear plan in place in case of these events.
We have developed a downloadable Equine Care template which you can complete with key information and contacts relating to essential care for your horse.
You should share your completed Equine Care Plan with key family members or friends, the emergency contacts you identify on the form, with your livery yard owner and your yard buddy.
Make sure your family / friends are clear of your plan and know what to do.
Keeping Connected with your Horse
During the Coronavirus crisis, many of us are feeling the effects of not being able to ride as often, and consequently the reduction in our daily ‘horse time’.
Here are some ways to keep that level of contact with our horse, improve our relationship with them and concentrate on the small things…
- Grooming. Grooming is often something that many of us rush, especially in the Winter months when we’re trying to use that last available bit of daylight to ride safely. Now we have a little more time to enjoy it, and for our horses to enjoy it. It’s a great way to bond with your horse and relax in each other’s company.
- Bathing. After a long, wet, hard Winter, better weather is finally here. Many of our horses are enjoying more turnout and are losing their Winter coats. A nice refreshing bath can be enjoyable for horses (providing they are confident with the process), removing dead hair and skin, and it’s a nice way for you to pamper them and see them looking at their loveliest! A good roll afterwards would be the perfect thing….
- Lunging and Long Reining. Although we may not be riding, lunging and long reining can be great ways to keep your horse active. If you have a good doer who needs their weight to be managed, these activities can really help with this alongside appropriate feeding/grazing.
- Horse Agility. If you have an area where you can set up a few obstacles, this can be really beneficial and fun! Start small, you don’t need a lot of equipment, and allow your horse to get used to the new items.
- Enrichment. While your horse may be having more turnout and less work, spend time making some environmental enrichment for him; branches, balls or other novel items can encourage play and investigation, his daily hay ration or treats can be spread into different areas or hidden to encourage natural foraging behaviour.
- Enter an online show. Ok, so we can’t go to shows at the moment, but you could enter photos and videos into an online showing class.
- Photography/Painting. Why not get in touch with your creative side? Use your normal riding time to practise getting some great shots of your horse, if you do this while he’s grazing it gives you the opportunity to observe his behaviour or the way he interacts with his herd mates, too.
- Concentrate on in hand training issues. Is your horse nervous of the hosepipe? By using training techniques grounded in behavioural science, sometimes just a few minutes of gradual training a day can make a massive difference to problems like this. Learn how to make a shaping plan to help your horse learn more easily or ask the advice of a qualified equine behaviourist.
- Here is a link to the Equine Behaviour and Training Association where you can find further information and resources: http://www.ebta.co.uk/
- Let us know your lockdown ideas! Get in touch with us to share the new ways you’re finding to spend time with your horse.
Useful link for further non-ridden ideas and free resources for staying connected with your horse: