Lockdown on Barnes Equestrian



Barnes Equestrian: Lockdown


Barnes Equestrian is on lockdown, it’s official.

 At 8.30pm last night, Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar announced an Irish lockdown. The outlines are as follows: 

 To stay at home for 2 weeks, only leaving for travel to and from essential work or;

  • To shop for food or household goods
  • Healthcare reasons
  • To take exercise within a 2km zone of the home. 

 Care of animals including horses is in fact exempt from the governments newest restrictions on movement. 

 Horse Sport Ireland put out the following statement in the aftermath of yesterday’s announcement. 

Lockdown: Horse Sport Ireland statement
A screenshot of the HSI statement

 We can see that, at least initially, Horse Sport Ireland are viewing purchasing feed and bedding as essential care. They don’t mention riding nor visitation if your horses care is being provided by a livery yard for you. 

 They’ve also said they’ve requested more information from the government to clarify the situation with other Equestrian areas and travel to and from studs. 

 Dressage Ireland were also exploring the prospect of online Dressage tests but have postponed that in light of the new government restrictions. 

Lockdown: Dressage Ireland Online Tests
A screenshot from the Dressage Ireland Facebook page

 Why I’m locking down the yard for now

 For now, the decision was made for a few reasons. 

  1. To comply with encouraging others staying at home. If people can trust that their horses care and needs are being met, it gives them a chance to stay home and isolate. Acting together now ensures we remove the threat in the greater long term. 
  2. I don’t have enough information on how this is to be implemented on small livery yards. I’d rather be safer than sorry until I have the information I need. 
  3. The yard is also a home. It’s hard to self-isolate, work the yard and tend to liveries all in a small property. 
  4. As in France and the U.K. many livery yards have closed to all visitors. Some are closed to full liveries while still allowing DIY liveries. Others have simply relaxed altogether and are allowing everyone into the yard with the same precautions as last time. The sole care of the horse is in the hands of the yard in Full livery but in the hands of the client for DIY. As a yard of Full liveries I take the responsibility for that horses care. 

 I didn’t want to make a relaxed call first, especially with the property being a home and the fact that I’m on the yard throughout the day, every day. 

 How can I as the yard owner self isolate in a yard where everyone comes up potentially casually and makes stops along the way? Possibly exposing themselves and myself to the virus?

 What could happen otherwise?

 The reality is, if I got tested positive for Coronavirus, the yard would be on absolute lockdown for at least 4 weeks or until I’m given the all clear. 

 If a client tested positive for Coronavirus, the yard would be on a minimal 2 week lockdown. This would ensure that all other clients who may have crossed paths with the positive client, don’t contract the virus. It also gives some time in case the virus had been transferred through objects. As a yard owner I have to be vigilant with cleanliness and disinfecting everything.

 Locking down the yard now allows us all to focus on the government guidance. It gives us less reason to venture out and mingle; and more reason to stay behind closed doors. 

 I haven’t taken this decision lightly. I have considered all the options but this, I feel, is the most logical with the information I have now. 

 The future

 I will of course be keeping a close eye on the Horse Sport Ireland updates and any governmental decisions made in light of horses and more specifically livery. I won’t keep such restrictions in place if they are advised against. 

 With the information I have now, I have to make a call that minimises the risk to not only myself, but to everyone. I have to be responsible, even if that means potentially losing business. 

 There is no template for this. The current environment is potentially dangerous and the situation is dynamic. 

 I have to think in a dynamic and safe way. Therefore my decision will be reviewed and updated as new information comes to light. For now I’m simply trying to balance the health and safety of the yard and all who visit. 

 Scott Barnes,

Barnes Equestrian


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