New Covid-19 Secure Guidance for Equestrian Establishments

Guidance for equestrian establishments on mitigating the risks of Covid-19 has been produced by NEWC President, Dr David Marlin. Follow this link to view/download the guidelines.

Hot on the heels of a survey which highlighted UK horse owners’ key concerns during the current coronavirus pandemic, two of the survey’s authors – equine scientist Dr David Marlin and Dr Jane Williams (Hartpury University) – have collaborated to produce a comprehensive set of guidelines to help equestrian establishments put in place recommended measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. 

The advisory document provides details of the responsible practices that need to be adopted by owners and keepers, based on credible research and national government guidance. The initiative is in direct response to the survey findings which identified that 73% of respondents felt that the pandemic had a significant detrimental impact on their mental health, citing stress regarding who would be able to care for their horse in the event of illness or need to self-isolate, as a key factor. The survey also evidenced that while livery yards were strong on providing hand washing or hand sanitising facilities, the majority – especially DIY yards – had limited Covid-19 plans in place and many struggled to implement the standard measures prescribed by government within an equestrian environment. 

Alongside the information detailing precautionary steps which should be rolled out across all equestrian settings, the eight-page dossier also offers those who care for horses, donkeys or mules, insightful tips on how to be suitably prepared to ensure the welfare of their animal, in case they fall victim to the virus or are forced to self-isolate and therefore stay away from the yard. 

In addition to the guidelines, which are endorsed by the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC), World Horse Welfare, RSPCA, The British Horse Society and British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), Dr Marlin and Dr Williams have produced an eye-catching poster that can be downloaded from the DrDavidMarlin.com website, which provides a clear visual means of communicating how to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission on any equine yard.

Commenting on the two sets of guidance, Dr David Marlin said, “Our survey highlighted a number of concerns amongst owners, a large number of whom felt anxiety linked to how they’d cope if they were unable to get to the yard, either because of ill-health or the need to observe self-isolation protocol. Worryingly, the report also raised a red flag over the apparent lack of measures in place at equestrian establishments that were struggling to understand how they could act to stop the spread. While the number of coronavirus cases is falling, the message from the government is clear, there is no room for complacency in the fight against this virus, so it is imperative that all yards – including DIY livery yards – follow the recommended advice outlined in our guidance and take active steps to ensure the necessary Covid-secure measures are adopted.”

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