To the Ocala Horse Alliance Members and Equestrian Community:
These are unprecedented times…. indeed, challenging times. But no doubt, we as an industry and community will weather the storm if we use our collective energy and acumen to address and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Below are a few topics that we feel are important to note at this juncture:
1. Feed and Hay Availability
We have spoken with several feed and hay suppliers and all assure us there is no need to hoard or stockpile feed or hay. Even if there were an order to close business, ag and animal feed suppliers are considered ‘essential business’ and they would remain open. The feed companies report their mills are operating and will continue to produce. Hay supplies are continuing to be trucked here without interruption. Please do not hoard feed or hay as it may create a supply issue that is unnecessary.
2. Non-Transferable to Pets or Horses
The According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals or humans. Please remind people so there is not an influx of pets to shelters. As precaution, always wash your hands after interacting with an animal.
3. Parks, Trails: Closed for Safety
The number of trails, trailheads, parks and facilities that are closed to equine activity is growing daily. Please respect the closings and understand the closings are designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
4. Social Distancing and Best Practices
The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization both recommend social distancing as a primary means to limit the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing (keeping 6 feet away from another person) and sanitation of common areas and surfaces should be practiced at all equestrian related facilities to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Common areas such as tack rooms, bathrooms, as well as doorknobs and light switches should be disinfected regularly. There are but a few cases of COVID-19 in Marion County. Let’s keep it that way.
5. OHA Connections Events Suspended
In keeping with the recommendations from Governor DeSantis, the CDC and local officials, we have suspended the monthly OHA Connections events. As soon as it is deemed safe to resume, we will.
6. Small Business Support
Without question, one of the biggest hits economically will be to small business. Please consider this when we return to a more normal lifestyle.
7. Need and Crisis
The time may come when some individuals will be in critical need of assistance with their horses. I hope as a horse community we can reach out and assist in these very trying times. Let’s be good neighbors, good citizens, and a good resource for members of the equine community.
We are bonded by the horse…and we can, and may need to be, there for those in need.
Please take care to be safe and healthy.