Throughout this Covid19 pandemic social media postings from horses owners who proudly announced that isolation and quarantine procedures were nothing new to them were prevalent. Commercial horse farm owners and managers dread the introduction of transmittable diseases such as Strangles, Eastern Equine Encephalitis or the Equine Herpes Virus, that can contaminate horses at their facilities and shut down their businesses.
Some folks very wisely take serious measures to prevent such an occurrence.
But not everyone takes quarantine needs seriously. Even inadvertently, horse barn owners regularly make poor choices when it comes to vaccination protocols and introductions of new horses to the barn family. High hoof traffic in at the equestrian facility with clinic participants and lesson visitors bringing their horses on site for training and handling, and competition and breeding horses that travel and can become stressed and easily pick up an infection and bring it home.
A horse sanctuary that was started in good faith by a neophyte horse person in my neighborhood, bought home horses from a local auction every week without maintaining any ‘social distancing’ for the newcomer from her existing herd. A bout of Strangles ensued, that caused much distress for horses and humans alike. This was an expensive mistake that could easily have been avoided. Her horse owning neighbors were aghast and upset at her lack of knowledge and the introduction of the disease in their area. Needless to say, a new isolation barn was quickly built for future use once the outbreak was resolved.
A few years later a major German horse breeding/sales facility that I regularly attended, was hosting one of their many elite auctions when Strangles reared its ugly ahead, and washed through the barn of over 120 horses with abandon.
It is imperative that barn owners realize the need to ‘iso’ incoming horses, and utilize the wide array of vaccinations and fast testing options available in the marketplace. Requirement of full vaccination history and also importantly, diligent review of vaccination records and health certificates, is a must for event organizers but is also imperative for safe barn management.
One of the best ways to address the quarantine issue for an existing horse operation is the provision of an isolation/quarantine barn on site. Located separately to the main barn(s), this structure can provide housing and have its own turn out paddock for incoming equines, and facilitate a 30-day lockdown period to prevent the spread of disease or illness to other horses on the property.
Separate storage of hay/bedding and feed and stall cleaning equipment can be kept on hand for use at the quarantine barn to avoid the chance of cross-contamination between the isolation building and the main barn(s).
The building can serve many uses: horses that are trailered-in to the property for training/instruction for clinics/shows/lessons can relax while waiting for their ride time; rescue and sales horses can be isolated; sales barns that provide horses for export can receive USDA certification to provide services as a licensed export facility saving money on specialist locations by following USDA protocols and distance requirements for siting of the building; competition horses can have their own barn that keeps them separate from breeding stock or other horses on the property; and horses already in site can be isolated if it is suspected of they harbor or have symptoms of a disease.
Provision of a quarantine barn does not have to be expensive or hard to enact quickly. A modular or prefab structure such as a shedrow or budget-friendly low profile barn can provide the perfect housing to service isolation needs. Many larger modular building companies have discount options of stock on their lot, and can provide an almost ‘instant’ barn on site with no mess or fuss. Ask about their finance options if you need it in a hurry and need help making it happen.
Bear in mind due to the present Covid19 pandemic, many modular construction companies have seen a huge rise in demand for barns as horse owners seek to bring their equines home thus seek housing for that need. If you have plans for an additional barn whether for quarantine needs or to house an overflow of boarders, it’s wise to act promptly as it can take 8-10 weeks for delivery from purchase date during busy construction times for custom builds.
It is less expensive and certainly less worrying to take the extra precautions of quarantine when a new horse arrives on the grounds than it is to try and resolve a serious disease that may cause permanent health damage to the existing equine population on site or even result in equine death. It can add an extra layer of security and peace of mind for the barn owner and for boarding clients at the facility.
It is important to stay smart in any business and the horse world is no different. Consult your vet for advice on vaccination programs and healthcare protocols that are simple to enact to minimize the risks of the spread of disease.
Sadly we all know what terms like asymptomatic and quarantine mean now, and how isolation can help. A horse can’t self-quarantine because it’s feeling poorly, that is up to you!
KINDLY NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit, in any media format, on condition that credit, in any media format, on condition that credit is given to Horizon Structures Inc., and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication and Horizon Structures URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL is included. Horizon would appreciate notification of any publication. Kindly contact Horizon Structures for photos to accompany the article.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Horizon Structures Inc., Atglen PA – Modular horse barn specialists. Horizon Structures also offers both residential and commercial kennels, coops, multi-use structures and playsets. Please visit https://www.HorizonStructures.com to learn more.
About Horizon Structures: One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners. At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.
All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –
Horizon Structures also sells indoor riding arenas, chicken coops, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures.
Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook. Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business. He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns.
For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com
Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Photos are available on request from media contact: Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com
About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International published writer and creative content producer. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing specialist. Nikki also produces catalog and website copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures, advertising copy, photography, videography for a wide range of businesses.
As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 35 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international level and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Iberian breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run Willowview Hill Farm, a private dressage training operation in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.