Dear Maryland Horse Community,
First and foremost, we sincerely hope you, your families, and your beloved horses are safe and healthy as we face some of the most unprecedented times in modern history. The COVID-19 crisis has affected every aspect of our local horse community and it is our responsibility as the Maryland Horse Council to provide you with the most relevant and up-to-date information. You can easily find all official information from our governor and the state here. However, we have highlighted the most critical points relevant to the horse community and industry:
Illegal Activities – Fines & Jail Time
As of today, March 18th, the ban on all gatherings of more than 50 people remains in effect. This means that any event larger than 50 people (e.g. horse shows, clinics, larger trail rides, conferences, etc.) is illegal under current Maryland law. Willful violation of the ban could result in fines up to $5000 and imprisonment of up to one year.
Equine Related Injuries – ERs & Hospitals
During this time, please exercise extreme caution in your own equine activities. Think twice about doing anything that might increase your risk of injury. The state continues to face shortages in the medical community including reduced inpatient beds, availability of doctors, and sterile medical environments free of possible COVID-19 contamination. Trips to the ER increase your risk of contracting disease, and you may also be taking up medical resources that are needed by very sick people.
Social Distancing for Stables – Best Practices
The CDC and WHO also suggest the practice of social distancing. This should apply to all activities including equestrian activities at your farms, barns, and other agricultural buildings. Please ensure:
1. A minimum space barrier of 6 feet between yourself and other people at all times. (e.g. no giving leg ups, no riding side by side, etc.)
2. No more than 10 people in an area or present at an activity at one time.
3. Sanitization of all common surfaces, supplies, and other items.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A person CAN contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. The virus can survive from several hours up to a week or more on surfaces, depending on the type of surface, and the temperature and humidity. https://www.prevention.com/
These objects found in and around your farms include but are not limited to:
1. Tack and Apparel- Bridles, Saddles, Girths, Saddle Pads, Wraps, Helmets, Boots, and all other Leather and Cloth items.
2. Communal Barn Supplies- Pitch forks, Wheelbarrows, Hoses, Grooming equipment, etc.
3. Rest room, tack room, feed room door knobs, light switches, etc.
We strongly advise you consider this when making decisions to continue your lesson programs and invite individuals including boarders to your facilities. You can find a list of disinfectant products that are effective in killing the COVID-19 virus here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/
Business Insurance – Loss of Income Clauses
If you own a business and are or expect to suffer a significant loss of revenue, we encourage you to check your business insurance policy for loss of income clauses and any recourse during a declared national or state of emergency.
Horse Care & Welfare – Available Resources
Finally, all members of the Maryland equestrian community should start thinking about how we can be prepared to help our fellow equestrians and their horses as the economic impact of the pandemic widens and is felt locally. If owners can no longer afford to care for their horses, the Maryland Horse Council, METS, and The Equiery along with the Maryland Fund for Horses can help with suggestions and options, before horses become abandoned or go without hay or feed.
We are your source for all Maryland horse information and we are your voice in Annapolis. Stay safe, be communicative on our social media pages, and keep us informed of any news in your communities! We will continue to closely monitor the information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and relay relevant new information in a timely manner.
Neil Agate, MHC President & Carrie Hull MHC Executive Director