A Letter from the Maryland Horse Council: Essential COVID-19 Information for MD Equestrians

Maryland’s eventing community is an incredibly vibrant and active one, and we know that many of our readers hail from the state. Accordingly, we are sharing the following letter, issued on Monday by Maryland Horse Council President Neil Agate and Executive Director Carrie Hull, which addresses some of the most critical points relevant to the horse community and industry.

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. Today, we have highlighted the most critical points relevant to the horse community and industry:

WE ARE WORKING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO GET ANSWERS TO YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS, SPECIFICALLY ABOUT WHAT KINDS OF ACTIVITIES ARE ALLOWED AT BOARDING FACILITIES BY NON-CAREGIVING STAFF, INCLUDING VISITATION OF HORSES, RIDING WHILE ON-SITE, AND ACCOMPANYING FARM OPERATORS/CARE GIVING STAFF DURING VETERINARY AND FARRIER APPOINTMENTS, ETC. WE WILL PUSH OUT THOSE ANSWERS TO YOU AS SOON AS WE HAVE THEM.

Governor Larry Hogan held another press conference this morning to issue a new Executive Order closing all non-essential Maryland businesses, organizations, establishments, and facilities at 5pm on Monday, March 23rd. This new order closes all other businesses not defined by federal guidelines as critical infrastructure sectors. Agriculture is considered a critical infrastructure sector. We are awaiting additional insight from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, expected later this afternoon, on the specifics of equine related operations permissible at this time. Care of your equines is considered an essential activity per guidance received from the Maryland Department of Agriculture on Sunday, March 22nd.

We are fielding a number of questions specifically related to the permissible activities at boarding operations. At this time, lesson programs, camps, clinics, horse shows, and other social and sporting activities and events are deemed non-essential. Additional guidance specific to the number and permissible activities of people allowed on the property of a facility strictly used for boarding horses is forthcoming.

Governor Hogan also stated that at this time, he is not ordering a “shelter-in-place” mandate but said, “unless you have an essential reason to leave your house, you need to stay home.”

Governor Hogan, in conjunction with Commerce Secretary Schulz and Labor Secretary Robinson, announced several business relief programs including the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund and the Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund. Information on these programs can be found here.

Additional information on how Marylanders can help during the COVID-19 crisis can be found here.

At this time, it is highly recommended for all Marylanders, including horse owners, to follow Governor Hogan’s request to stay home. We will update the horse community as soon as more specifics are released by MDA.

Please click here for more COVID-19 information that includes useful links to federal guidelines and previous communications from the Maryland Horse Council.

Sincerely,

                                                                                  
Neil Agate                                                                               Carrie Hull
President                                                                                Executive Director
Maryland Horse Council                                                         Maryland Horse Council

[ESSENTIAL COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR MARYLAND’S HORSE COMMUNITY]

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