Quarantine Preparations

Following on from my last post about how I think it’s important that we all remain calm, behave sensibly, and remember to look after our emotional health – which invariably means lots of pony time. We still need to prepare for the worst case scenario – you going into quarantine and not being able to care for your horse.

The quarantine period is for fourteen days, so you want to stock the feed room for that duration. Be sensible, if you aren’t riding then your horse will be out of work, or in a reduced workload, so would benefit from a reduction in their hard feed. Especially with spring around the corner and many still living in at night.

Order enough feed to last for two or three weeks and keep on top of it. There’s no need to panic buy, but you don’t want to run low on stores. In a worst case scenario, a friend can pick up a bag of feed should your horse run out while you’re in quarantine. The same goes for forage and bedding. Don’t panic buy, but stock up.

It’s a good idea for every owner to write down their horse’s needs – contact phone numbers, feed quantities, rug requirements, daily routine – and share it with those who will look after your horse should you go into quarantine. Some small yards will share these details throughout; other yards might prefer small groups of friends or field friends to sort themselves out. Ultimately it’s what works best for your horse – some horses can’t be caught by everyone for example. In which case, it would be better for one person to take over the care rather than everyone muck in quasi-randomly.

Make sure you’re ready for spring – are the lightweight and fly rugs at the yard and ready for use? If most of the yard goes down, will the horses be turned out 24/7? Or have a more relaxed routine? In which case, will they need different rugs?

If you have a private yard, or there’s only a couple of owners there it is worth speaking to a freelance groom. Brief them and have them on standby should you need to be isolated.

It’s worth having a chat to your farrier, vet, chiropractor, and anyone else who might be visiting your yard. Check that they’re happy to come still, and what precautions they are taking and those they require you to make. I’ve seen some farriers request that owners don’t hold their horse’s unless necessary, or even aren’t present, and many are asking that you pay online rather than in cash. These people are usually self-employed so need to work as much as possible to protect their livelihood. Which means they will take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, but we should also take responsibility and not expose them unnecessarily by respecting their wishes and not being present if you suspect you have the symptoms.

With those simple procedures in place your horse will barely notice your absence! And, to be honest, it didn’t take much effort did it?

Otis’s Diary

An extract of Otis’s diary whilst I am away.

Dear Diary,

Breakfast turned up a bit earlier today which is just as well as I had munched my way through the half slice of hay. I blame those woolly jumpers who ate all my grass!

The groom removed a large wheelbarrow load of old hay from the other side of the bitey fence – at least I assume it bites like the other tape fences – but there is still a lot more to pick up. He also muttered something about a few more warm days and the docks will have enough new growth to spray.

He said that there is no proper tea on Cape Verde so does that mean mum will be back very soon? – I’m missing her.

Dear Diary,

The groom is getting better – breakfast was at 8.30 although he did complain about the traffic. I suggested he got up earlier and returned to his paddock (or garden as he calls it) via the lanes.

It was a lovely sunny day although there was a biting wind which made him wish he had a hat on.

I walked the groom to my stable and let him practice his grooming. No where near as good as mum of course.


Dear Diary,

 Well, today has been interesting! My servant was a bit earlier but apparently there was lots of traffic – at least that was his excuse. I could not say too much though as I had had a bit of an accident when I was practicing my emergency stops. My front driver’s side shoe came off and the groom spotted it sticking up out of the ground as he brought me my breakfast. He rang my friend who was luckily at a nearby stables and took me in to my stable where he abandoned me for the morning.

The groom apparently drove to pick up replacement “bitey fence” posts. Note to self – do not let him choose rug colours as I have now got one orange post and 9 white ones so heaven knows what colour rug he would get.

Anyway the farrier turned up 10ish and replaced my shoe and I ate hay until the groom turned up again at 3. I decided to tease the groom a bit on the way back to the field by stopping every so often and just gazing around at the view. He kept on looking to see what had caught my attention.

I don’t think mum has a very good hotel whilst she is away as, unlike me, she has to walk to her food and does not have it delivered like I do.

I think the groom looked a bit tired when he left so I might give him an easier day tomorrow – that is if he brings me some more carrots.

Good night diary.