With the ongoing threat in the UK from Coronavirus, horse owners are rightly worried about the possible impact on their equine friends.
Horse insurance is the first way to protect your horse during this turbulent time but being aware of the most up-to-date information is also crucial.
As horse lovers ourselves, we’ve looked into the latest guidance on horses and Coronavirus to help you get all clued up.
Can your horse catch Coronavirus or give it to you?
The bond between horse and rider is so special that we obviously don’t want them to become ill or for them to come to any harm.
Amid the Coronavirus crisis, there has been much to be fearful of but there’s no reason for undue worry when it comes to our horses.
Coronavirus spreads through human-to-human transmission and there’s no evidence to suggest horses are spreading the disease to humans.
Animal charity Blue Cross says: “There is no evidence that animals in the UK have been infected with the new Coronavirus, and there is nothing to suggest that horses can transmit Covid-19 to people.”
While there appears to be no risk from the disease to your horse, if you do notice any signs of illness, then call your vet as usual. Remember to keep your horse insurance up to date in case of any emergencies.
That being said, as with any surface, the Coronavirus could survive on your horse’s coat for a short period of time.
So, the main advice for horse owners is to continue to follow good hygiene rules by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling your horse as a precaution.
This will also protect against other germs and is a sensible hygiene measure to take in any event.
Yard safety tips during the Coronavirus pandemic
Whatever’s happening in our lives or the world around us, our four-legged friends still rely on us for love, care and attention.
While respecting rules set out by your yard, the social distancing and handwashing precautions we’re already following in our daily lives also remain key.
Advice from the British Equestrian Federation for those caring for their horses include:
- Respect any restrictions imposed by the yard manager.
- On arrival, wash or sanitise your hands – if there are no facilities available then take your own soap and water with you.
- Maintain social distancing of 2 metres from other yard users and avoid common areas.
- Use your own equipment where possible.
- If using shared equipment, disinfect whatever you’re touching or wear disposable gloves.
- Avoid activities that carry an increased risk of injury.
- Wear an appropriate riding hat while handling your horse.
- Assess your horse’s diet, and reduce energy intake according to the reduced levels of exercise you may be providing.
- Limit the number of visitors to the yard.
- Wash or sanitise hands thoroughly before leaving the yard.
- Wash hands with warm water and soap straight away.
- Wash your yard clothes and other items used during your visit.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, it also remains important to have a back-up plan in place should you find yourself incapacitated by illness, or if further restrictions are imposed in future.
What to do if you get ill or restrictions are reimposed
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has issued advice if you’re a horse owner and you have symptoms of Coronavirus. It states you should self-isolate at home for 7 days, or 14 as a household. You should also arrange a test to find out if you have Coronavirus.
If you have a horse that you don’t keep at home, you shouldn’t visit it while you’re self-isolating. Instead you should contact your yard manager to make suitable welfare arrangements.
If you’re too unwell to care for your horse and there’s no one to help, you should call your local authority.
Hopefully during the initial lockdown, you’ll have had the opportunity to buddy up with other horse owners in case either of you became ill or had to self-isolate.
The British Horse Society (BHS) recommends you keep these relationships going as the risk of Coronavirus hasn’t disappeared.
If your buddy is going to handle or ride your horse then make sure you and they have the correct horse insurance in case of an accident.
Whether you’re using a buddy system or have made arrangements with your yard manager, it’s important they understand your horse’s needs and where important equipment and feed is kept.
The BHS has also produced a useful equine care plan template for you to fill in. It provides sections for you to give essential information such as feeding regime, temperament and daily management.
Ensure your yard manager and buddy know what to do in the event of any emergency with your horse. Make sure your vet and farrier’s contact details are clearly available.
Even without the Coronavirus pandemic, this is good routine practice to have in place. You never know when there might be an emergency.
If you’re uncontactable, then important decisions about your horse’s welfare might be delayed.
How insurance can help
Owning a horse is a joy but also a huge responsibility. With equine husbandry costs on the rise, horse insurance is essential and can help protect against unexpected bills.
By paying a regular premium you’ll be protecting yourself from having to find cash in an emergency.
If your forever friend gets into a scrape, the insurance could save the day on big expenses such as vet fees or hospitalisation.
Whether a happy hacker, a competition horse or a trusty veteran, make sure you’ve got the protection you need by taking out insurance with Equesure.
Our specialist team is here to make this a simple process. If you choose Equesure, you could benefit from:
- Vet’s fees cover up to £4,500 per incident but with unlimited number of claims within the policy year
- Personal accident cover up to £20,000
- Public liability cover up to £5 million on some policies
- Loss of use cover available with all insurers
- EU cover/usage available upon referral
Call Equesure on 01480 220089 and get a quote today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.