COVID-19 Affects Equestrians

COVID-19 Affects Equestrians

Savannah Haag, 21st Century Journalism Student

Crooked Post Farm riders Haley Mannel and Talor Sutton have had their ups and downs with what COVID-19 has brought to the equestrian world.

By the beginning of April, nearly all Kansas barns shut down, leaving the riders unable to show, ride, or even care for their horses themselves.

Trainers, pros, breeders, show managers, and judges made little to no income, and riders were left without their sport.

“I haven’t been able to get out of the barn as much during this,” Talor Sutton said. “We weren’t able to ride for a while either.”

Fellow rider Haley Mannel agreed. “[We] weren’t able to ride for a period of time,” she said. “No lessons, shows: it really changed most of our summer.”

However, there was an upside for riders that came with COVID-19. “The shutdown gave us lots of time to work on the little things, relax, and just enjoy riding,” Haley said.

“Shows go a lot faster,” Sutton said. “Usually we’re there from sunrise to after dark, but with the new restrictions and regulations not as many people go.”

Horse shows, barns, and lessons are starting to open back up. But they are not the same as they were before, with limited people, full-time masks, no spectators, and social distancing full time.

“We are always in masks, and family and parents can’t always come, but I hope no more shows will be canceled,” Sutton said.

Mannel agrees. “Masks and limited numbers are the only normal we have right now,” she said, “but that’s ok if it means showing!”