In light of the recent advice issued by the government regarding social distancing and staying at home amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA), in liaison with BEVA, The Horse Trust, and World Horse Welfare, have released guidance for registered farriers to ensure that horses can continue to be cared for properly whilst we all adhere to social distancing guidelines.
At the end of March, the Farrier’s Registration Council confirmed its agreeance with DEFRA’s judgement of farriery work being considered essential during this troubling time, allowing farriers to continue practising whilst respecting the restrictions that are currently in place.
The BFBA have advised that all non-essential travel should be avoided where possible, and have broken their guidance down into a colour-coded system:
Circumstances under this bracket are deemed non-crucial, and so a farrier should not make plans to attend an appointment. These circumstances will be applicable to horses whose hoof care cycles can be easily extended or adjusted without causing any long-term detrimental effects.
Amber is applied to those circumstances where the timing of regular hoof care appointments is an important factor contributing to maintaining soundness. It should be noted that farriers should consider the possibility of extending the time between appointments, as long as such an adjustment to the hoof care schedule would not lead to a horse falling into the ‘Red’ category.
Red is applied to situations where hoof care is considered absolutely crucial, i.e. in cases where to not attend a regular appointment would lead to serious detrimental effects for the horse, causing discomfort and pain. This also includes the care of foals.
What should I do if I need to make an appointment with my farrier?
Firstly, you should contact your farrier and discuss the current condition of your horse in order to determine whether or not an appointment is absolutely essential.
If your circumstances fall under the ‘Red’ category of the new evaluation system, you should look to arrange an appointment with your farrier at a time when it will be most convenient for both parties. It’s also vital that you advise your farrier if you have recently been ill, or if you have been in contact with anyone who is or has been ill.
In present circumstances, all horse owners are advised not to be in attendance at any appointment, whether farriery, veterinary, or otherwise. Instead, you should tie your horse up and ensure it is secured, before moving away to a safe distance to allow the farrier or veterinarian to work.
An update on our services in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the cancellation and/or postponement of many equestrian events throughout the calendar, we have been asked by a number of private clients whether or not we are still able to carry out works to the arenas they have at home, as many horses will be grounded and being kept in work on clients’ private yards, until restrictions are lifted.
As the work we do is quite solitary and allows for our ground workers to keep social distance from clients, and even from one another within their own teams, we would like to assure our customers that we will still be able to carry out any required works and installations at this present time.
For more advice and guidance on how best to protect the welfare of your horse during the COVID-19 outbreak, please click here, or contact the team on 01282 834970 if you have any queries.