EQUESTRIAN: Staying positive during COVID-19 pandemic

Whether you are part of the Showjumping industry as an amateur or a professional, equestrian sport has come to halt alongside pretty much every other sport in the world. Even with no shows or training events running, stables across the globe will still be working and caring for their horses but how are the worlds riders and grooms keeping busy whilst we are all encouraged to stay home and social distance……

DD spending some time at home with partner Caroline and daughter Stella

DANIEL DEUSSERhttps://stephexstables.com/en/riders/detail/19

Q – What are you doing with your horses whilst we are on lockdown? I still ride them but the older show horses do a little bit less jumping and work more on the racetrack and in the woods and field, mostly with my flat rider. I ride and jump a bit more with new or younger horses.

Q – What have been the positives you have found so far with the situation? Spending more time with my family, also having a bit more time to try new things with training exercises, bits etc with some of the horses. When you are going to shows every week, sometimes you don’t dare to do that and change anything.

Sean is used to being at shows every week so is making the most of being at home in Belgium
Image – Ahmed44 Photography

SEAN LYNCH – Groom for Daniel Deusser at Stephex Stables

Q – What are you doing with your horses whilst we are on lockdown? We try to keep the horses in a routine and fit. They will all go out of the stable at least two times a day including going in the field, being ridden, on the walker or aqua trainer. We are also very lucky to have our own woods forest area so the horses can still have some free time from the arenas! Sundays they all have off depending on the weather that’s field walker chill day!

Q – What have been the positives you have found so far with the situation? Positives from this situation from my side have been …. being home and spending time with horses as I travel so much usually. I get to do all my Grand Prix horses everyday, learn the new ones also and the younger ones. Organising the show tack the first week of lockdown was my highlight with the label maker and now I get to eat home cooked meals and not gas station food everyday so win win situation!

Ellen enjoying precious time with her two children

ELLEN WHITAKER – https://ellenwhitakershowjumper.com/

Q – What are you doing with your horses whilst we are on lockdown? All of them are still in normal work, except one, who was due a holiday. I am not jumping them much though, the odd small grid and some pole exercises. I personally see it as a good opportunity for a break from jumping, which they would never usually get at this time of year. The health and fitness routine is still the same though.


Q – What have been the positives you have found so far with the situation? For me the positives are the time I am spending with my children. I have also been trying new recipes in the kitchen, I am celiac and intolerant to lactose and dairy so I quite often get lazy about it when I am so busy and travelling a lot, and just grab the same old thing and go. I am just starting to get going again with my fitness too. So far I have used it as a chance to get life more organised and learn a bit more about everything and work on the things I am not so good at. But, I must say for me, being with my children with nowhere to rush off to is just lovely.

Ellen has been part of the amazing fundraising team https://www.equestrianrelief.com to raise money for the NHS Charities COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Click on the link to get more details and donate.

Alexa & Rodrigo and team are isolating in USA Image – AMETHYST EQUESTRIAN Instagram

ALEXA & RODRIGO PESSOA – Amethyst Equestrian


Q – What are you doing with your horses whilst we are on lockdown? The truth is that the horses are in varying levels of work depending on what suits them. We have a few new horses that we just started working with this year, they continue to do some jumping exercises at home. The horses that we know well are staying fit with a mix of hacking out, lunging and flat work but this group is hardly jumping.

Q – What have been the positives you have found so far with the situation? I think the positives are easy to see. There are some horses that needed this break after a busy few years. We are enjoying the extra time to work with new horses at home and of course being home as a family. The break really makes you realise that we were moving at such a busy pace for so many years, it has been nice to be together and enjoy where we live.

Emily is isolating in Wellington, USA with her team Image – Alden Corrigan Media

EMILY MOFFITT – http://podenfarms.com

Q – What are you doing with your horses whilst we are on lockdown? We have been trying to keep a good balance with working the horses. We don’t want to over train in case this lasts a long time but we don’t want to under train in case shows start up again soon. No one really knows when things will start up again or how long this will last so we take it day by day right now. It’s really lovely for the horses to have a vacation. They never get one so we are taking advantage of that.

Q – What have been the positives you have found so far with the situation? Like I mentioned above, it’s really great for the horses to have a break from the shows. It’s lovely to see them have a play in the fields all day, hack around and just be horses! Although this isn’t what any of us wanted it’s allowing me to really work on the small details that I would have never had the time to do before. It is definitely a scary time in the world but I try to look at the positives!

Oda and partner Tim with daughter Nova at their home stables in Holland

ODA CHARLOTTE LYNGVAERStal Hendrix

Q – What are you doing with your horses whilst we are on lockdown? We are trying to keep the motivation up by doing different exercises and enjoying the amazing forest and tracks we have around the farm. Building some courses to jump the horses around a bit so we are prepared to continue where we finished when we are allowed to show again.

Q – What have been the positives you have found so far with the situation? On the other side it’s been very nice to spend a lot of time being home with the family. I think we are lucky living at the farm and can enjoy being outside but still at home. But I think I speak for us all when I say we can’t wait to everything goes back to normal!

Kathi is staying home and making the most of the downtime allowing her horses to be horses.

KATHARINA OFFEL – https://www.katharinaoffel.com

JANNICKE NAUSTDALWOSJ

Q – What are you doing with your horses whilst we are on lockdown?

Kathi – I try to keep their days interesting and have them outside as much as possible. Depending on their age and needs, they do flatwork, a bit of gymnastics and jumping once or twice a week, they get lunged or go on the trail track around the property. They are also in the walker and spend 2-3 hours in the fields every day, so they come out of the stable three times. They also have Sundays off, only going in the field and in the machine. Overall, I try to keep them fresh, happy and motivated. The horses also enjoy lots of extra attention, time in their massage blankets and some laser treatments in between. 

Now that I have all this time at home (I haven’t left the yard since we came home from Spain four weeks ago!), I try to spend as much time as possible with all of the horses. It’s a good opportunity to put a lot of effort into the younger horses, improving their flatwork and rideability. 

Q – What have been the positives you have found so far with the situation?

Kathi – For sure there are positives to be found in this situation. Although I’m a very laid-back person, I still have the tendency to be in a rush – it’s such a hectic schedule with shows every weekend and most of the time I only have full days at home Monday-Wednesdays. Being at home 24/7 I have finally had time for all the things on my to-do list, we’ve cleaned up, washed down and made the green areas and garden ship-shape. 

Although I would love to compete again and also see the business pick up, I have also enjoyed spending so much time on each of my horses – and having no rush. As to the horses, they are the happiest I think – enjoying the grass fields every day. They finally get to grow some hair and are allowed to just be horses. 

The current situation is surreal. When I think of all the people in the big cities around in Europe, locked up in apartments and only allowed out for essential errands – it really brings some perspective as to how lucky we are to work with these incredible animals and be out in the nature every day. I hope everyone keeps taking the situation seriously, stays at home and contributes towards minimizing the spread of the virus so that we can return to a more normal life over the next few months.

Jannicke is spending some quality time at her home and with her animals.

Thanks to all for contributing to this months blog!

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