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Survey Results Evaluate the Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Equine Management in the United States and Canada

Only 35% of survey respondents reported they could ride as normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Fotokostic/Shutterstock

Flair, LLC, teamed up with Science Supplements USA and David Marlin, BSc, Ph.D., to launch a survey for those located in the United States and Canada to better understand the effects of COVID-19 on horse owners, riders, trainers, grooms, stable managers, and other equestrian professionals. Over 4,000 participants completed the recent survey, which closed on April 4, 2020. While there is no evidence that this coronavirus is a problem for horses, more than 40% of respondents reported they have had to change their horse’s management because of the pandemic.



Some findings from the survey include:

◆ Over half of respondents reported their interactions with their horse has changed. For those that had to make changes, 58% said the changes were not their own choice.
◆ 60% of respondents did not have to reduce the number of times per day they visited their horse(s).
◆ Regarding the ability to ride their horse, 35% of respondents reported they could still ride as normal, while 28% reduced their riding—either due to restraints place upon them by others or due to their own choice, and almost 30% reported not being able to continue riding their horse—either due to restraints placed upon them or by others. For 6% of respondents, their horse is not ridden or was not being ridden.
◆ A large majority, over 86%, reported they have not been advised nor have they seen advice suggesting they alter their horse’s management to full-time turn out (in order to limit the need to travel or visit the barn for feeding, handling, and cleaning stalls).
◆ A large majority, nearly 88%, reported their horse is not likely to have to undergo prolonged stall confinement as a result of COVID-19.
◆ In light of the changes to routine needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, 9% were concerned for the health of their horse, almost 27% were slightly concerned, and almost 64% were not concerned for the health of their horse.
◆ Of the 2,221 respondents that keep their horse at a barn (not privately), nearly 84% reported their barn has implemented measures to allow for social distancing and most felt the measures are satisfactory.
◆ Approximately 40% are concerned that the ongoing situation may make it difficult to provide for their horses’ needs (e.g., board costs, feed, forage, farrier bills, vet bills).

The research team was comprised of Marlin, a physiologist and biochemist with more than 25 years of experience in academia, the equine industry and in consulting; Louisa Taylor, BVM, BVS (Hons), BVMedSci (Hons), MRCVS; Jane Williams, Ph.D., of Hartpury University, UK; Shannon Pratt-Phillips, Ph.D, of North Carolina State University; and Jenna Kutzner-Mulligan, MS, of Science Supplements USA.

This North America survey was supported by a joint partnership between Science Supplements USA and Flair, LLC. A similar survey was conducted for those located in the United Kingdom and for those located in Australia.

The first Science Supplements products were the brainchild of Marlin. Committed to supplying the finest-quality horse supplements, Science Supplements have key ingredients that have been proven in laboratory, clinical and field trials to benefit performance, health and well-being. For more information, contact JM@ScienceSupplements.com.

Flair LLC, maker of Flair Equine Nasal Strips, is dedicated to evidence-based products for health, welfare, and performance of horses. Developed by veterinarians, Flair Strips are drug-free, self-adhesive nasal strips that support horses’ nasal passages and promote optimum respiratory health of equine athletes at every level of competition by making breathing easier, reducing fatigue, conserving energy, speeding recovery, and reducing lung bleeding. For more information about FLAIR Strips, please visit www.flairstrips.com.

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