Boarding facilities that remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic have had come up with some creative solutions for making sure that both boarders and barn employees remain safe and well. That includes limiting visitation to ensure that, on these beautiful spring days, a crush of boarders don’t all show up at the barn at the same time — no bueno for social distancing.
Here in Knoxville, Tennessee we are under a “safer at home” order, with gatherings limited to 10 persons or less. The barn where I board my horse, Penrose Farm, remains open (for now) but has taken many measures to ensure that everyone stays safe. Boarders are encouraged to stay home unless it’s absolutely vital that they visit their horse, for instance in the event of an emergency or neccessary vet or farrier visit. The essential barn employees have also offered help with self-care feedings, etc. so that boarders can rest assured that all is well with their horses while they stay away.
One of the barn moms found a handy program, Sign Up Genius, that ensures no more than a limited quota of people are at the barn at one time. Basically, each day there are a certain number of spots available for each three-hour time slot and to visit you must reserve your spot online. Here are a couple screenshots form Penrose’s sign-up log, to give you an idea of what that looks like. Be sure to factor barn help into the quota.
It’s a pretty cool and easy-to-navigate program — please feel free to steal if your boarding facility is in a similar situation!
Other measures our farm has put in place, all direct quotes from our fearless leader Erika Adams;
1. WASH YO HANDS
2. If you don’t need to come to the barn, DON’T COME. You all have been fabulous letting us know if you need our help or letting us know when you do not feel well and want us to keep an extra eye on your horse. Thank you for this, and keep up the good work!
3. Please tack up your horses in their stall. If you are a pasture boarder or your horse does not have a stall, please use a schoolie stall. Only Abel has the use of the cross ties in the barn. As for the wash rack (’cause we are covered in mud), use the outside crossties only and please sanitize the crossties before and after use. Sanitize spigot, hose, anything you touch after EVERY USE.
4. All lessons and clinics are canceled.
5. WASH YO HANDS
6. Barn hours have been extended. Per the boarding contract, the barn closes at 9 p.m. (unless discussed with me) but to spread out people coming and going, the barn is now open 24 hours. If you want to see your horse, but are concerned with human traffic, by all means come out at 3 am. I would prefer if you do not ride at 3 a.m. in case anything bad happens. We just ask that you try to keep the staff on premise abreast of your plans so we don’t run to the barn with baseball bats or boxing gloves.
7. Use your own equipment. Brushes are included in this.
8. Sanitize everything. We have been trying to keep everything sprayed with lysol or bleach, but do your part as well. The entry gate is a huge concern and we will look for a way to keep a bleach solution by the gate for your use. Please look for this in the future.
9. No groupies (spouses, children or other non-boarder guests) can come to the barn during high traffic times of the day. Groupies are welcome at night to avoid solo riding.
10. WASH YO HANDS!
Stay well out there, EN. Go Eventing (someday.) And … WASH YO HANDS!!!