Schneiders Top 10 Tips for Equestrians to Do Their Part Around the Barn During COVID-19

Social distancing is not often something we associate with when it comes to the equestrian community. We are used to sharing barn time with our friends, squeezing into the truck with a dog (or three), while we head to a horse show spending long days together before piling into a hotel room with your fellow barn friends.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seemed to turn every part of the world upside down, with no guaranteed return to our former level of normalcy anytime soon.

A simple run to the grocery store to stock up on carrots now entails face masks, waiting in line six feet apart, and being overly aware of anyone standing too close for comfort. Equestrians everywhere are secretly rejoicing inside at these new guidelines. We can only assume that we may not smell quite as bad when combining a six-foot distance and face mask to buffer the unique combination of manure, sweat, and fly-spray that we tend to grace fellow shoppers with.

All joking aside, keeping each other safe as we adjust to the necessary changes during this pandemic has many equestrians wondering what they can do to help.

10 Tips to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 around the barn:

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Wash your Hands

1. Wash your hands as often as possible.

Make sure you have hand soap readily available in bathrooms, wash-stalls, and sinks, so that you can wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds. Our Insta-Hot® Portable Equine Washing System is an affordable and convenient way to have access to hot water from anywhere at the barn and shows.

Remember to keep the handles to faucets, hose nozzles, and hydrants disinfected by cleaning them regularly. Hand sanitizers placed in tack rooms, your grooming bag, and even in your pocket is helpful when you cannot wash your hands often.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Stay Home if you are not Feeling Well

2. Stay home if you have symptoms or are not feeling well.

It is important to stay home if you have any symptoms, even if you are unsure that they could be COVID-19. According to the CDC, common symptoms include: cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell. Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, so you can spread it to others, even if you are not yet showing any symptoms. If you have a positive test, be sure to let anyone you have been in contact with know right away, and quarantine for at least 14 days.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Avoid Touching your Eyes, Nose or Mouth

3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

As the temperatures start to warm up it is inevitable to not be tempted to wipe away sweat from your face, rub your eyes to get the dust out after shoveling shavings, or plucking the horse hair now stuck to your lips as our horses finish letting go of their winter coats. Washing your hands before and after touching your face is imperative, but also covering your cough or sneeze with your elbow, instead of your hands can prevent the spread of germs.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Wipe Down Commonly Touched Surfaces

4. Wipe down commonly touched surfaces.

Use disinfectant frequently on commonly shared or used items such as shovels, pitchforks, brooms, wheelbarrows, cross ties, gate latches, doorknobs, light switches, stall door latches, lead ropes, water and feed buckets, and feed scoops.

When you can, assign equipment to individual staff or grooming areas. Each staff member can have their own pitchfork that they use for daily stall cleaning. Assign a shovel, broom, and muck-tub to each grooming or wash-stall area. We have multiple color choices in various stable supplies to coordinate, making it easy to keep things together in designated areas. You can even use colored tape to easily identify your system on the items you already have.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Reduce Shared Equipment

5. Reduce shared equipment when you can.

Implementing new methods for daily routines that involve repeatedly touching items, such as feeding, by reducing the number of items yourself or staff would need to touch, is a great way to make an effective difference. One example would be using a feed cart such as The Horsemen’s Pride Feed Cart, with three compartments holding up to 200lbs of grain. Rather than filling individual small buckets when preparing grain, you can walk down your barn aisle and feed directly, only needing to then wipe down the cart’s handle and scoops, versus numerous individual buckets.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - No Longer Share Grooming Supplies

6. No longer share grooming supplies, spray bottles, coolers, pads, etc.

Prevent items such as grooming supplies, brushes, fly spray and other spray bottles, lead ropes, sheets, coolers, and saddle pads from being shared among numerous people in the barn without washing or sanitizing between use. When you can, provide your own bottle of fly spray, separate grooming tools, pads, and other equipment for each horse. An easy way to keep your grooming supplies separate, especially for busy barns with lesson or training programs, is to give each horse their own 8 Quart Bucket or grooming bag, with a few key staple grooming items inside. A stiff brush, a soft brush, curry, hoof pick, and a comb or tail brush can all be easily washed or wiped down between use. Schneider’s has a variety of affordable grooming products and fly sprays making it easier to assign each horse their own.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Deep Clean and Reorganize Grooming Supplies

7. Deep clean and reorganize your grooming supplies into two groups.

Don’t we all just love the feeling on the rare occasion of dumping out our grooming bags, washing out the collection of dirt and debris, and neatly placing each item back in a uniform fashion! Schneider’s has a variety of grooming bags, totes, small buckets and brush boxes, as well as nearly every grooming tool you need to keep your horse clean and show-ring ready.

You can condense the items that you use daily, into a separate bucket ensuring you can easily clean any items you touch, while keeping the other items you use less frequently into a separate grooming bag. One easy way to clean your supplies is using a small bucket, fill with hot water and dish detergent (you can also add apx. 2 tablespoons of Lysol or even Listerine per gallon of water) to loosen and remove the dirt, dander, oils, and residue from your items. Let them soak for 30 minutes, rinse well, and lay out to dry.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Social-Distance by Keeping 6 Feet Away from Others

8. Social-distance by keeping a 6-foot distance when possible.

We know how hard it can be to stay away from our fellow equestrians. Our barn time is a place where we often go to escape from reality, catch up with friends, and enjoy ourselves and our horses. Whether you offer or participate in lessons, ride with friends, or have a busy training stable, it is important to make sure rings are kept to a limited number of riders to ensure a well-spaced out distance between each horse.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Spread Out Grooming Areas

9. Spread out grooming areas and provide well-spaced tack storage.

When in the barn, avoid crowding in tack rooms and common areas. Schneider’s has a variety of handy Easy-Up® racks and hooks for saddles, bridles, tack, boots, pads and grooming supplies that can easily hook over a wall or stall door. Considering adding more grooming areas, cross-ties, and the ability for riders to tack up their horses in or near their stalls. Adding a trunk such as one from the variety that we offer, from plastic trunks with wheels to solid wood, is another way to spread out boarders and students equipment to eliminate crowding in tack rooms and cross-contaminating your equipment.

Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 around the Barn - Have Separate Tack, Wraps, Boots, etc. for each Horse

10. Have separate tack, wraps, boots, or pads for each horse when possible.

When possible, have separate tack and equipment for each horse to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 within the barn. This is a great time to go through the pile of old pads laying around and clean the extra tack that has been getting dusty in the back of the tack room, or stock up on some new easy-care schooling pads.

Make sure you clean your bridles and headstalls after each ride, especially your reins, and wipe things down like the girth or cinch buckles, and your saddles. Pads should go into a laundry basket to be washed. If you do not have a washer, getting a new muck-tub is an easy DIY way to wash pads, boots, and polos. Simply fill with hot water and laundry detergent, add the pads, swish them around, let soak, then rinse and hang to dry.

Hopefully, things return to the normal we once knew. Until then, following these tips whether you are a busy lesson or training barn, a self-care facility, or within your own barn on your property, can help keep everyone healthy and safe during COVID-19.