Coronavirus – caring for horses

As fears about Coronavirus (Covid-19) continuing to grow and health authorities regularly updating their advice, many people will be thinking about what will happen to their horses.

While there’s no evidence to suggest that any pet can be a carrier of Coronavirus or can become ill from it themselves, they could be impacted if you or any members of your family test positive for the virus or are asked to stay at home and self-isolate.

The RSPCA has put together some advice on how to provide care for horses, and pets during this time.

1. If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then continue to interact with your pets as normal but adopt good hygiene practices including washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching them, their food, toys and bedding.

2. Avoid being kissed or licked and sharing food with your pet.

3. Ensure you have extra supplies of pet food and medication in case of self-isolation.

4. Speak to your vet or doctor for more advice.

But what about meeting your horses needs if you need to self-isolate? The RSPCA advises that if it is possible, arrangements are made for another person to care for your horse if they are not based at your address until you are able to return to normal.

But what about competitions? The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is in constant contact with key partners such as UK Sport, the British Olympic Association, the Sport and Recreation Alliance, and the FEI to monitor the situation both in Britain and globally around the current Coronavirus outbreak.

It has urged all stakeholders to follow Government advice and information, which is regularly updated on the website.

There is presently no rationale to close or cancel equestrian events, but this may change as the situation evolves. They recommend that everyone in the equestrian community follows the NHS guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading the virus to help in the containment process.

The same advice was issued by the British Horse Society. Equally, Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) is in constant contact with key partners such as Sport Ireland, Sport Ireland Institute, and the FEI to monitor the situation both in Ireland and globally around the current Coronavirus outbreak. Further, Horse Sport Ireland are following all the official circulars and guidance issued by the Department of Health and the Government of Ireland.

The ninth edition of the FEI Sports Forum has been moved to an online forum due to the constantly evolving Coronavirus Covid-19 situation. The FEI continues to follow the situation regarding very closely and, specifically for Tokyo, it is maintaining regular contact with the IOC, the IPC and the Tokyo Organising Committee.

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