Letter from the Publisher


by Carrie Hull, Equiery Publisher & MHC Executive Director As boarding and lesson programs have reopened across the state, now is a

good time to review the suggested safety measures to ensure a healthy and happy barn. Please note that as of press time (May 26, 2020) equestrian events and competitions are still prohibited in the state of Maryland. First and foremost, if you feel sick stay home. Tis is one of the most

effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you have been expe- riencing symptoms or if it is likely that you have been exposed, please inform your barn manager so that he or she may make an informed de- cision about a new 14-day quarantine for your barn or lesson program. “Socially distancing” or physically distancing is still necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19. Te virus is thought to transmit mainly from person-to-person contact. Please keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and another person. Your horses help you do this naturally, but be aware when dismounted and working in the barn or other closed indoor areas. As of press time, restrictions on gatherings are still in effect. Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. However, barn managers may want to further consider limiting the number of people allowed at the facili- ties at one time depending on the square footage. Remember, each person needs to be 6 feet away from another at all times in order to best protect everyone from the virus. Te Maryland Horse Council suggests barn man- agers keep a detailed schedule and allow boarders to sign up for predeter- mined time slots to reduce the number of people inside at any one time. While inside the barn, or other closed spaces, please wear a mask at all

times. Te chances of getting the virus if all people are wearing masks is much lower than if only some or no one is wearing a mask. Hand sani- tation stations are also highly recommended. It is always best to wash hands with soap and water, but you may want to invest in pump hand sanitizer stations throughout the barn. Common surfaces should also be disinfected regularly. Tese include water and feed buckets, crossties and lead ropes, halters and tack, groom- ing supplies, water taps and hoses, stall and barn door handles, wheel- barrows, shovels, broom handles, and frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and countertops, etc. Te following suggestions were first published in the “Maryland Horse Council Best Practices for Barn Reopening” guide.

Suggestions for Barns: Barn owners may choose to adopt more restrictive procedures than those set forth here. 1. Access should not be allowed to anyone showing symptoms of CO-

VID-19, or anyone who has been exposed to a person with symptoms within the self-quarantine period. 2. Wearing face masks/coverings and hand sanitation is required 3. Have a visitor log in and out, install signage with posted rules, consider

requiring liability waivers/agreements to be signed (check with legal counsel) 4. Schedule set times for staff, volunteers, participants and permitted family members on property to ensure limitations on size of gatherings can be maintained. 5. Farm owners/barn managers should limit the number of horse own- ers/clients and staff on the premises, consistent with the current maxi- mum number of persons allowable in a gathering and requirements for social distancing. In implementing this rule, barn owners should consider the size and accommodations of the facilities, the number of clients, and the ability of the facility owner/manager to limit contact and interaction between and among clients and staff. 6. Require hand washing or sanitizing and possibly foot baths, by all 6 | THE EQUIERY | JUNE 2020

persons entering and leaving the property, and after handling deliveries and equipment. 7. Tack, equipment and supplies should not be shared if possible, and should be disinfected between uses if sharing is unavoidable. Frequently handled surfaces such as doorknobs, gate and stall latches, light switches, hoses, spray nozzles, pump handles, cross tie snaps, feed scoops, trash cans, truck and tractor doors and controls, etc., should be disinfected regularly. 8. All enclosed communal areas must follow all social distancing guide- lines or be closed to the public. No congregating with other horse own- ers, management or staff, including but not limited to tack rooms, feed rooms, wash stalls, hay lofts, equipment sheds, offices, lounges, barn aisles, parking lots, etc. 9. Horse owners/clients may ride their horses if all of the above condi-

tions are met and as follows: • A horse owner/client may ride on open trails with other mounted persons, presuming at least 6 feet of distance is maintained between horses. No groups larger than allowed under applicable limitations on size of gatherings. • A horse owner/client may ride in an arena (indoor or outdoor) with other mounted persons and instructors or other ground/unmounted persons, as long as social distancing guidelines and limitations on size of gatherings are followed. 10. Stables/Farms may host instructional/training clinics for horse

owners/clients provided that the ride times are scheduled so that there is a limited number of riders in each group (no more than maximum allowed gathering size including instructor and other ground persons, if any) and so that there is sufficient time (15 minutes…) between groups to avoid congregating outside the ring. • For training/instruction/clinics, the only unmounted person permit- ted in the ring is the clinician, with the exception that for jumping clinics that clinician may have a jump setter in the ring as well (social distancing maintained). See limits on indoor use as above. • Payment and releases should all be exchanged electronically before- hand; no sharing of pens, clipboards, paperwork, checks, etc. • Spectators/auditors are limited to the number of persons allowed un- der the current maximum number of people in a gathering (including riders and instructor/ground person) and must wear face masks and observe social distancing rules. 11. Barn owners/managers must make clear that only one other person

(e.g., a parent or friend) may accompany a client to the barn. Guests and visitors must all be cleared by the barn owner/manager and adhere to social distancing guidelines 12.Lessons for barn clients must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Number of students in each lesson and number of spectators must re- main within applicable limitations on the size of gatherings. 13. Instructors should observe a 6 foot distance from students and oth- ers during lessons. 14. To the greatest extent possible, maintain social distance for pay- ment, e.g., payment deposit box in barn, digital payment apps, etc. No sharing of pens, etc. Online payments and scheduling are preferred 15. Te facility should have a written emergency plan for handling inju-

ries that is designed to maintain bio-security to the greatest extent possible. 16. Posted signs on safety/bio-security protocols and additional liability agreements.

Heeding these precautions and other established standards will help limit your legal liability should you experience a COVID-19 outbreak at your facilities. 800-244-9580 |

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