COVID-19: Navigating a New Normal at the Barn

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Barn etiquette and smart horse and human health practices to follow during a pandemic

Horse owners will remember 2020 as the year of canceled shows, postponed clinics, and the rise of virtual symposiums. It has been nearly one year since the novel coronavirus was discovered and started its deadly spread across the globe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every part of our daily lives, from the way we work and vacation to the way we travel and gather (if we do the latter at all).

In the U.S., individual states, counties, and cities imposed varying degrees of regulations on businesses, often including equine facilities. During the early days of the pandemic, government mandates forced some training and boarding facilities to close completely, leaving owners unable to visit their horses. Barns that remained open often implemented restrictions on who could enter the property and when.

As we enter 2021, the question remains, what will barn life look like in the future? How do we stay healthy so we can be available to care for our horses? The answer starts with what scientists already know about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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Stacy Pigott is a freelance writer based in Tucson, Arizona. For 25 years, Stacy served as editor for various equine publications in the Quarter Horse racing and Western performance horse industries. She currently works at the University of Arizona, where she is a public information officer covering health sciences news and research. She hopes to compete in eventing and jumping with her OTTB Nicky.

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