After an agonizing few months of lockdown limbo, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This isn’t hyperbole. It’s the view through the tunnel from the warm-up ring into the Tryon International Stadium.
That’s right, horse shows are starting phased re-openings. Even though COVID-19 has left a wake of canceled events in its path, there’s still hope of salvaging bits of our 2020 show calendars as things slowly get back to normal.
Normal, though, is conditional on everyone doing their part to minimize the spread of the virus. Eventually, we’ll return to the joys of dodgy arena traffic and lines out the door for tacos at the Siesta Cantina. Until then, here are 10 things to help you prepare for a safe return to competition in the coronavirus era.
1. Masks to ride in
Masks are now a mandatory wardrobe staple at USEF sanctioned events. There are many stylish options out there, and patterns available online if you want to make your own. If you’re not handy with a sewing machine (*raises hand*), EquiFit teamed up with Boston medical professionals to create the Essential 3-Ply Facemask with AgSilver™. It retails for $13.00, and the layer infused with AgSilver™ helps guard against bacterial growth. Pretty cool.
Or maybe you prefer a tried and true KN95. If so, you can find a Naisian 5-Layer KN95 Protective Face Mask (2-Pack) on Equishopper for $9.95. It’s lightweight, made up of five layers, and has a 95% filtration rate. Or pick up a 50-pack of the Powecom DM95 Personal Protection Mask ($59.99). Bonus: Equishopper is offering $20 off your first order over $50 right now!
2. Hand sanitizer
Some shows have beautiful air-conditioned bathrooms where you can lather your hands with scented anti-bacterial soaps to your heart’s content. Others have the classic heat incubating port-a-potties. The safest bet is to keep some sanitizer on you at all times. If the store shelves are cleared out or you prefer a no-contact transaction, Equishopper carries this 500 ml bottle of Deya Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Gel ($16.95).
3. Cell phone carriers
Welcome to the digital age, where even before coronavirus life was lived through smartphones. In the days of COVID, now even family dinners are hosted by Zoom. Shows too will go increasingly digital for things like entries, orders, course postings, and class status updates to maintain social distancing regulations. It’s hard to always keep your phone on you when you only have illusion pant pockets. Try a cell phone holder, so not to miss important notifications. The Mobile Holder Waist Bag by Horze goes for $14.99.
4. Tack cleaner
Chances are you already have this one, but it’s worth noting that regularly cleaning your tack will protect both you and the leather. Soaping your saddles and bridles is especially important if you’re sharing with other riders, or have grooms who are also handling your tack.
Disinfectant liquids, sprays and wipes are a crucial element of your corona-essentials pack. Even though it’s not recommended to use on leather tack, you can sure as heck make stall door latches, pitchforks, feed scoop handles, and the like a barren, uninhabitable zone for germs. Equishopper carries a one liter of bottle of Dettol Original First Aid Antiseptic Liquid ($29.99).
6. This t-shirt
Maybe this kind of attire isn’t permitted in the class you’ve entered, but the first day you roll in with your trailer to set up is a good opportunity to bust out a social distancing statement tee. (This one is by WorldDesignTX statement t-shirt and available on Etsy for $19.00). After all, your horse show friends probably haven’t seen you for months. How else are you supposed to stop them from breaching the six-foot bubble and bounding into your arms?
7. All the bags
No matter how disciplined your barn is about disinfecting, it’s really, really hard not to touch everyone else’s stuff when you’re sharing quarters at a horse show. If the stable rents a tack stall, space is still tight. If they don’t, everything is just randomly littered down the aisle where it often gets moved about in the pre-class frenzy. Keeping your belongings bagged up is one way to make sure no one else makes direct contact with them. It also protects your boots from being scuffed or your coat from getting dusty. You can find a large bag selection on Equishopper, with plenty of different coordinating combinations.
8. Individually packaged snacks
If you’re a barn mom figure, you might have assumed the responsibility of making sure everyone remembers to eat. There’s no questioning you’re the stable favorite by the way they smile-jog over when they see you come in with snack basket in hand. But having the famished group all diving their hands into the same goldfish bag is COVID’s dream. For now, go for individually packaged foods. Or use ziplock bags if you prefer to make your own.
9. Video of your ride
Normally, horse shows are an open invitation and some riders bring an entire entourage along for support. Though grandma, Aunt Vicky, brother Jake’s girlfriend, and second cousin Sally all have to stay home for now, that doesn’t mean they can’t still watch and cheer you on—from home. Line up a fellow competitor to film your round (free!). Or track down the show photographer.
You can’t buy it but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. We are living in unprecedented times. Moving forward is going to involve a period of trial and error while the kinks are ironed out. This goes for the show organizers, grounds crews, trainers, riders and grooms. With patience and a little bit of faith we’ll soon recover the show circuit we all know an love!
You can’t buy it but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. We are living in unprecedented times. Moving forward is going to involve a period of trial and error while the kinks are ironed out. This goes for the show organizers, grounds crews, trainers, riders and grooms. With patience and a little bit of faith, we’ll soon recover the show circuit we all know and love!
Shop the Barn Biosecurity collection at Equishopper!