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Horse owners struggling during pandemic

As we watch the news for issues that impact the well-being of horses during the pandemic, there is some that looks like good news, such as the cancellation of events where horses are abused, injured and even killed. And then there is the news that looks not so good.

One in particular that has been catching our attention over several weeks centers on horse ownership More and more horse owners are saying they do not know how much longer they are going to be able to meet their costs. A few have gone so far as to say they may have to “relinquish” their horses. What does that mean exactly, “relinquish”? To whom, or what?

In a CBC News article entitled, “Horse lovers going into debt as COVID-19 closures continue,” they report what is becoming a crisis situation.

Open quote

Business owners in Ontario’s equine industry are worried about how they’ll stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic — given they have more mouths to feed than just their own.

“Horses, they couldn’t care less about a pandemic. They require their care every day, and we feed them five times a day,” said Ryan Theriault, who owns Tranquil Acres, an equine therapy centre in the rural Ottawa community of Kars.

Theriault said he spends $100 a day just to feed his nine horses but doesn’t qualify for the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan or Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) because he doesn’t have a payroll.

Emily Bertrand runs the Royale Equestrian Centre and Royale Ranch in Ottawa, and while she does qualify for both CERB and a $40,000 loan through CEBA, she’s worried that money won’t last long. That’s because it costs $18,000 a month, she said, to care for her more than 40 horses.

“It’s so stressful,” Bertrand said. “I need to make my money now through the summer so I can feed the horses in the winter … I’m not so worried about the next month or two, I’m worried about six to 12 months from now.”

Can’t simply sell horses

Both Theriault and Bertrand said they would like more federal assistance for the industry, because it’s not as simple as selling some of their horses to help cover the bills.

“If everyone is strapped for cash, who can buy and who can maintain and care for these horses?” said Theriault.

So . . .

We have put our thinking caps on. In a country as vast as the U.S. we feel that a federal assistance program would be unwieldy to handle. It seems to make more sense to work at the State level. Your thoughts? Suggestions? We would like to put together some workable suggestions to present to the Governors of each State. Please leave them in comments, or use our Contact Form. Thank you everyone.

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