Self isolation- day 87.
Just kidding. Today is Friday. I’ve only been working from home since last Saturday and was last at the barn on Tuesday, but it FEELS like 87 days so far. If I’m not divorced or in jail facing homicide charges at the end of it for strangling my husband, please congratulate me. And I’m sure he feels the same! Losing access to my horse has made me much less pleasant to live with. At least his Mustang lives in the garage and he can take it out for a run every day.
It feels like such a first-world problem to whine about missing my horse, but I do. And selfishly, the one good thing to come out of this whole awful situation was the opportunity to fit a lesson in every day while working from home. I genuinely believe I was on the verge of becoming slightly less incompetent in the saddle. Oh well. There are bigger problems out there.
Aside from the whole global pandemic / threat of potentially fatal disease thing, there is the economic fallout to worry about. People in almost all industries except deliveries are being laid off and seeing their income dry up, while their bills keep coming in. This is particularly scary in our industry, where most equestrian facilities struggle in a good year just to break even. Horses still need to eat, shavings still need to go in the stalls, and hay isn’t going to suddenly get cheaper. Lesson income is now gone, and as more people face job reductions and losses, boarders will struggle to pay their bills. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m not sure where it will end.
The state of emergency rules in Ontario have equestrians confused and wondering whether their barn really needs to close to everyone except staff, or whether sensible hygiene precautions and social distancing are enough. I can’t say yes or no; all I can do is share today’s statement from Equestrian Canada which includes the following advice:
“EC and the PTSOs recommend that facilities that host equestrian-related activities only allow personnel needed to take care of the facilities and our equine partners on their premises. This includes facility owners, facility managers, equine caretakers, providers of equine-related essential services (e.g. veterinarians, farriers), and boarders or owners providing equine-related minimum standards of care*. Non-essential personnel, including students, friends, family, the public, and boarders or owners who are not providing equine-related minimum standards of care* are encouraged to remain off the premises.”
*For reference, by “minimum standards of care” they mean the essential, basic requirements as laid out in the Code of Practice for Equine Care. If you are in a self-care barn, or your horse has complex medical needs that can’t be met by staff, you might be the one needed to provide essential care.
The staff at the barn where I board is well-equipped to provide basic care and much more. Caprice is in excellent hands. Sadly for me, based on the recommendation above, there is no reason for me to be there right now, but the barn staff is doing their best to keep us all connected by sharing photos and videos of our beloved equine partners. I am so grateful for their hard work and care. Reducing the number of people entering the property and using the facilities will help keep those workers who have to be there safe.
So for now I’m like many of you - working from home, stress-cleaning and organizing closets, enjoying long walks with my dogs, day-drinking on a regular basis, and attempting to entertain my children. Pro tip: a Disney Plus subscription for the month is the best $7 I ever spent!
About the author
I'm a middle-aged, overweight, rusty re-rider who refuses to let any of that get in the way of my passion for dressage.