Riders in Ontario, Canada: Riding through the worst of COVID?

From the barn I would end up at OSMH, from work I would end up at RVH, and from home I would end up at GBGH.
Of the three OSMH is the only one without a Covid outbreak.
I imagine all of our hospitals will be taking transfers from the hotspots for awhile though.

Rumours are flying about curfews and shutdowns to construction. We’ll see what news we get this week, and if it affects barn time.

There are max 6 boarders at my barn, we don’t have scheduled rides as the odds of us all being there at the same time is almost not likely.

I am riding as much as I was in the summer or the year before Covid even happened. I don’t know how people who don’t have a hobby or who’s hobbies have been cancelled due to Covid are managing.

My mental health would be insanely bad without being able to ride my horse, I know its pathetic, but he’s what gets me out of the house and active. I am at the barn 7 days a week, riding or not. He’s 17, with KS and arthritis in his hocks. He needs to keep moving for his own health as well.

The odds of me going to the hospital are higher risk with my drive to the office or to the barn. Less risk at the barn. I’ve had him for 14 years, the only time I seem to fall off is when I’m cross country schooling and have a dirty stop LOL! It’s winter, so I’m not too worried about that scenario.

Keep on riding if it keeps you happy!

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I agree on going to the barn keeping me sane. The spring lockdown was so much more painful because for 6 weeks we couldn’t even go to the barn, and after that only for a paddock visit once a week. The barn is my little slice of normal right now. Curfews won’t affect my riding but if the govt imposes a geographical restriction on how far away from home you can travel except for work, like they did in the UK I’m screwed. The barn is 70km from my home. Hopefully that’s not on the table.

In theory, curfews are not on the table in Ontario at this point. If it happens, my work day will be getting re-scheduled by breaking it into pre-barn and post-barn chunks. My horse is on self-care so that there is no question I must be there everyday, but I would totally do some juggling of my timetable to prevent getting pulled over after hours.

Looks like we’ll find out in 20 minutes or so.

I don’t think the curfew is on the table anymore, but I was a little worried about that one.

I’m luck enough to live in the same county as my barn, even though it’s a half hour drive away. I don’t even know how they would police regional restrictions.

I think they should limit the number of people going into stores, like they did in the spring (including the big box stores!). I also can’t understand why the gathering limits are still at 10 people indoors? I thought the limit came down, but it’s listed on the suggestions given to Ford.

I hope they don’t lock everything up again, as I would like to still go to the barn. But they need to do something.

I thought there were no indoor gatherings allowed, period?

Me too, but here’s the list the provincial government was considering:

  • Gathering limits reduced to as few as five people.
  • Shorter hours for essential businesses, which would involve earlier closures and later openings.
  • Limits on construction activity, but those limits would still allow essential construction to continue. Essential construction would be defined as work on health care and critical infrastructure, as well as residential buildings.
  • A requirement that no employees would be allowed in offices unless they are deemed essential.

It’s my understanding that indoor social gatherings are not allowed at this time.
Organized indoor gatherings such as the religious service for a wedding (not a reception), or a funeral, or organized meetings such as AA are limited to 10 people or less.
Outdoor gatherings are currently limited to 10 people (an ice hut operator in North Bay was just fined for exceeding this).

Edited to add that the new lockdown which starts on Thursday further reduces the limit to 5 people.

Link to the new rules


So I don’t see anything in today’s release that contradicts the wording in the previous lockdown restrictions that owners are allowed to care for and ride their horses as necessary? Anyone else? Certainly I can see the stay home order erases any lingering doubts about whether lessons, clinics, trail rides, etc should continue but sounds like basic care / riding is still covered as an essential.


Correct. Caring for animals is considered essential.

Yes, but note the limits of people also changed. Outdoor gatherings restricted to 5 people, so I would think that would be the max number allowed at the barn at any time?

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I don’t know. I mean I’m not worried about my barn because although there are a lot of horses, it’s very spread out and everyone just does their thing and gtfo lol.

However, I’m thinking about my other barn work (dairy) and although we are mostly able to keep large distances between us and, unless the temperature plummets to the point the exhaust fans don’t come on at all (-15C or so), the ventilation is great, there are times when we have no choice - there are more than 5 of us indoors. Cows get sick/injured and equipment breaks while all the other routine stuff still has to carry on.

I think for work more than 5 is OK. Dairy would be essential.

If you scroll down there is a framework within this article that mentions “Other businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal sheltersand research facilities” may stay open. This is written right after the blurb on veterinary services.

Further down under “Outdoor recreational facilities”, it says that Horse Riding Facilities can remain open.

I would think that owners can still come and ride. Just don’t have more than five people congregating. ie Two people in the arena, someone brushing their horse in the cross ties, and barn staff mucking and feeding is probably fine.
Six people sitting in the tack room talking and drinking coffee? Nope

10 cars in the driveway or of traffic might get the neighbours asking questions though. That would be when bylaw shows up.

I don’t know how to tag 2 people at once so,

Jealoushe - yes dairy is essential, but by the rules that were updated since the first shut down when all hell broke loose with stables closing doors to boarders now state that basically all animal care (and riding of horses) is (can be) essential.

Good Times - yup! Agree with all of that.

Here is the specific wording that clarifies that owners can visit and ride: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200082?fbclid=IwAR1__JIE314jnTVCKx4uLlhO3YcidpFDhfqyFT7FDUkXHS0SGORcsG5SzhQ

As far limits of people, I think it’s would fall under the forums other businesses use to determine capacity and not the limits for social gatherings? It really depends on the size of your barn and the number of staff. We have a schedule at our barn (since re-opening in the spring) that basically ensures only one boarder is riding at a time and there are never more than 3 boarders on the property at once.

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I’m in Ottawa. Our hospitals are “ok” now but that could change so it’s good to keep an eye on it. I’m still riding as long as I can, but taking it easy. Pony is better outside so whenever possible we toodle in the field rather than the arena. He’s ok with that! We’ve had pretty decent winter weather so far but I know the real winter temps are coming soon so outside won’t be doable.

Due to the limits in numbers, boarders have a schedule and at the moment I go out 4 times a week- that’s down from the before times when I was going out 6 times a week. Retired pony is insulted as his treat days have been decreased. At least it’s a terrible time of year weather-wise so in terms of timing it’s not so bad.

“Facility Operations
Due to federal, provincial/territorial and local government recommendations on the movement of individuals, as well as the current states of emergency declared by provinces/territories, EC and the Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations (PTSOs) recommend that all farms and facilities that host equestrian-related activities, including but not limited to boarding stables and lesson barns, cease public-facing and non-essential activities until greenlit by the aforementioned government authorities.

Individuals are to continue operating under the minimum standards of care outlined in the National Farm Animal Care Council Code of Practice to ensure the feeding, care and movement of equines.”

A snippet of an email sent from EC. Cease public facing and non-essential activities. IMO sort of grey area leaning towards barns closed. Interesting

This to me sounds like pretty much all construction can continue then.

Again, this sounds great on paper but here in NY state when they said essential most people think health care workers for fire/police services. I work at an architectural firm, we were considered essential because we do health care work and we had some projects under construction so the office was still full of people.

Disclaimer - I wear a mask, I do not go places, I am not anti-stay safe. I am just pointing out that this wording is not a huge change.

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