The coronavirus pandemic has presented many problems for people in horse racing industry – both in the United States and around the world. With the vast majority of race tracks shuttered across America, only a few races have run in the past month. And as it stands, most tracks will remain closed at least through April.
One organization in Kentucky has been a longtime supporter of the equine industry in the Commonwealth in numerous ways, including helping responsible horse owners who fall on hard times. Many of them are, indeed, experiencing hard times right now.
That’s why the Kentucky Horse Council has opened its applications to those unable to purchase feed for horses during the coronavirus shutdown.
Spreading the Word
Natalie Voss, a member of the Kentucky Horse Council board of directors, wrote a piece for the Paulick Report about the organization and its readiness to help horse owners impacted by COVID-19.
Her article explained that the Kentucky Horse Council is a nonprofit group that is primarily funded by specialty license plates sold through the Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles. Funding is then used for a number of educational and support programs in Kentucky. One of those programs is the Save Our Horses.
The Equine Safety Net is a part of Save Our Horses. According to the organization’s website, where there is also an application, explains further. It notes that the program was established to assist caring horse owners who experience some type of temporary financial setbacks, such as job losses or medical incidents within the past six months. When these setbacks happen, horse owners may have difficulties feeding their horses.
When an application is accepted, the Kentucky Horse Council will pay the feed/hay supplier for 30 days of feed for up to two horses. Traditionally, the horses needed to be personal, not professional.
In the Time of the Coronavirus
Voss’ article highlighted that the coronavirus pandemic has created new needs, and the Kentucky Horse Council wants to help where possible.
While recipients of grants must be Kentucky residents, the group loosened other restrictions. Now and for the foreseeable future, horse owners can apply for $250 grants for general horse care.
Executive Director Katy Ross said the Equine Safety Net had been helping two to six owners per year. And more recently, they used some of the fund to offer aid to counties in Eastern Kentucky for authorities who suddenly had to feed horses seized in neglect and abuse cases.
With that in mind, Ross hopes those doing well in the equine community will help the fund in this time of need for so many. “If we’re able to raise any additional money, that will 100% go to this. It won’t go to operating costs.”
Equine Safety Tips
The Kentucky Horse Council posted a plethora of information on its website regarding guidance for humans and horses in this time of the virus. They received the information from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Office of State Veterinarian.
In caring for horses and working around them, they suggest these tips:
- Open barns to allow as much fresh air to flow through.
- Grooming and other horse equipment should be assigned to one barn and individual, as well as cleaned and disinfected daily.
- Limit the number of people helping a veterinarian.
- Veterinarians should consider wearing a mask, taking their temperature twice daily, and wear coveralls to be changed between farms.
- Veterinarians should change gloves between horses.
- Farm employees should practice social distancing.
The guidance is essential to follow in order to keep equine boarding facilities open during the coronavirus shutdown.