With the COVID-19 crisis gripping the globe, horse trainers everywhere are facing a crisis of their own: How to keep their horse businesses afloat while still keeping owners, riders, trainers, and help safe?
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Casey Branquinho—our monthly Resistol RideSafe expert—has a barn full of horses preparing for major National Reined Cow Horse Association competitions and junior and high school rodeos. He's got clients from every walk of life who love their horses like family, and he had to make the hard decision to close his facility in Santa Ynez, California, to all visitors. California enacted its shelter-in-place law March 19, 2020.
"At first, we tried to spread our customers out," Branquinho said. "Our clients liked to come ride together, but we asked that they come ride at different times throughout the day. But we just ultimately had to shut it down."
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Branquinho said the call wasn't an easy one to make, but the goal—keeping his family and his clients safe—made it a necessity.
"My wife Nichole has COPD, which puts her at extremely high risk for COVID-19," Branquinho said. "Our customers are understanding and are dealing with it OK. Their horses are like their children, so it's hard on some of them, but we are grateful they're understanding."
Their customers are permitted to drop off supplements and vet supplies but can't stay for any extended time periods, Branquinho said.
But that doesn't mean the horses in the Branquinhos' care won't receive their regular care and training.
"I'm keeping all of the horses tuned up," Branquinho said. "I'm not running them through the grinder as if we're going to a show this weekend, but I'm keeping everything working. Stalls are being cleaned, aisles swept, horses brushed and cared for. We just want don't want anyone's health put at risk in the process." H&R