The Charity is appealing to horse owners to be prepared and have a plan in place. It is a good idea to speak to friends or a family member, with adequate equine experience, about buddying up and helping each other out in the event of illness or self-isolation. Putting a plan in place will alleviate worry and ensure good peace of mind. If you become unwell or are asked to self-isolate the last thing needed is the stress of worrying about who will care for your horse.
While there is no current evidence to suggest that animals can be carriers of Covid-19 or can become ill from it themselves, their welfare could be compromised should an owner or a dependant test positive for the virus and are no longer able to provide ongoing care.
Tips to keep your horses happy and healthy:
- If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then continue to interact with your horses as normal; good advice at any time, not specific to the Coronavirus situation, is to adopt good hygiene practices including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching them and any shared yard items such as wheelbarrows, brooms and forks.
- If you keep your horse at home, although you won’t be able to take your horse beyond your land if you’re self-isolating, aim to ensure your horse is kept happy with sufficient exercise and stimulation, if possible increasing turnout, amending feeding accordingly and try providing any existing stable toys to keep his mind occupied as much as possible.
- If your horse is kept on a DIY livery yard, ask the owner of the premises if you are able to adopt full livery, if needed, and how much this will cost. This is a great option to take and preparing in advance for extra costs will alleviate financial worries.
- Put together a care plan for your horse and keep records of when your horse was last wormed, had farrier treatment, dietary requirements, any ongoing veterinary treatments, insurance details etc. this will be a good guide for someone taking on the care of the animal.
- Ensure you have sufficient supplies of feed, bedding and any medication to last a few weeks. Pre-ordering well in advance of running out will ensure that you can make alternative arrangements.
- Speak to the livery yard owner (if applicable) about the plans and preparations they have in place regarding the current phase of the virus outbreak.
Above all good ongoing communication will be key to the continued care of your horse or pony. Make sure you have all relevant/current, contact details and give yours to key people.