AHC Latest News- May 1, 2020

The following is from the American Horse Council:

May 1, 2020
Special COVID-19 Issue

Copyright © 2020 American Horse Council

The AHC News is provided to you as a benefit of your AHC membership, and we hope you find the articles informative and useful. While the AHC does grant permission for newsletter articles to be passed on, we hope you will encourage those you are sharing the articles and information with to join the AHC so they can stay informed and up-to-date!

Permission to pass on the AHC News articles to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.

Don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom of the newsletter as there’s some great stuff down there.

Resources for Horse Owners


How to reopen your barn following the COVID19 quarantine

The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for a complete shift in the daily lifestyle of everyone in the United States, including our horses. Living under quarantine, curfews, and learning how to work from home has reiterated how important barn visits are to mental health. As states across the country relax stay-at-home requirements, we have some tips on how to keep your horses, horse people, and your barn as healthy as possible.

  • Limit gatherings to as few people as possible, and continue to maintain the recommended social distancing protocols that include six (6) feet of separation between individuals. Just because the quarantine is being lifted doesn’t mean the threat is over.  COVID-19 can be detected in the air for up to 3 hours after being transmitted. Some stables have created a schedule where clients can reserve time slots for their visits, reducing the amount of people in the barn by only allowing 3-4 people present at once. This may be the most appropriate step forward for those barns in states that were forced to close outright.
  • Encourage proper hand-washing and provide as many locations/opportunities for people to do so. Due to the structure of the virus, washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to prevent contamination. Hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective.
  • Make a daily or hourly cleaning chart to prevent virus transmission. Disinfect common contact areas regularly and avoid sharing equipment and supplies between people, COVID-19 can live on copper for up to four hours, cardboard for 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days.
    • Non-porous materials (leather bridles/saddles/halters, nylon halters/lead ropes, gate latches, door handles, spray nozzle) harbor the virus longer than porous materials (cotton lead ropes, saddle pads)
    • Clean communal leather tack daily with tack cleaner. Knowing how to properly disinfect tack is useful for any equestrian, be it for strangles or COVID-19. Aerosol sprays such as Lysol tend to strip leather of oils, so if you use an aerosol spray to disinfect your tack, be sure to let it dry completely and then recondition the leather to protect it. Soap and water is another effective way to break down the lining of bacteria and viruses and is often safe for most tack. Diluted bleach disinfects well, but leather may dry out and crack from repeated treatments.
    • Disinfect gate latches, spray nozzles, cross tie snaps, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, and other frequently used items regularly or after contact with personnel
    • Stall door latches, hose ends, light switches, faucets and feed scoops should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • There may be state requirements to wear gloves or face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading germs. Many businesses will be looking to taking the temperature of those present in and will not allow anybody to come if they register a temperature or feel sick and this may go a long way to helping clients feel comfortable.
  • Long story short, nobody spends 2 months on the couch unscathed, so take it easy getting back into training. Many riding stables are closed to tenants and all equine events have been canceled in an effort to reduce the virus’s spread. Due to these closures, many horses are not receiving regular workout schedules, or maybe no exercise at all. While daily lifestyles are difficult for all during this pandemic, adapting a horse’s schedule to a life after quarantine can be equally as challenging. Exercise related injuries would be a terrible way to end the quarantine.

Making boarders and clients safe and secure will be critical in getting the horse industry back on its feet, and each facility, whether private or public, should have written policies regarding COVID-19 and expect all clients and professionals to adhere to them. Keeping our horses healthy has always been a priority, but without their owners you can’t keep the lights on. All of these tips, and more, can be found on the AHC COVID-19 Resource Page, please visit it here as we continue to update it during this transition.

Details: Contact Cliff Williamson at cwilliamson@horsecouncil.org

Resources for Small Businesses

Congress, Administration Move Toward Next Steps for  “CARES Act 2.0” 

Since Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act on April 24, also known as “CARES Act 1.5,” lawmakers and small business groups continue to identify ways to refine and expand the scope of the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  For example, the horse industry is working with the Farm Bureau and others to secure eligibility of 501(C)5 groups for Paycheck Protection.  For background purposes, the tax code classifies 501(C)5 organizations as agriculture groups and labor unions.  If these ag-focused trade associations don’t receive emergency funds, then many agriculture operations could lose an important “go–to” source for economic data, best practices, and policy information.  The horse industry is also lobbying to include 501(c)6 groups – which include a broad swath of trade and professional associations – within the loan program.  Extending eligbility to more 501(C) groups could prove to be an uphill battle.  For example, many Republicans might oppose inclusion of 501(C)5’s on the grounds that they oppose labor unions.  And on the 501(C)6 front, many Democrats could raise objections, on the grounds that most Chambers of Commerce, a key pillar of the business lobby, classify as 501(C)6.  At the end of the day, lawmakers might agree to include “all of the above,” sealing a deal that has something for everybody.

Congress, SBA Must Make Paycheck Protection More “Ag Friendly
While Congress discusses CARES Act 2.0, the horse industry and its allies are also advocating for ways to expedite delivery of funds into the hands of agricultural borrowers.  AHC, the National Cattlemen Beef Association and the Farm Bureau, among others, are requesting more resources for rural lenders to distribute Paycheck Protection loans.  Specifically, the coalition is requesting that Congress include Farm Credit System lenders within future “set asides” for community banks.  The coalition is also encouraging Congress to continue to pressure SBA to process applications as quickly as possible so that funds can be delivered to rural America without further delay.  With respect to covered expenses related to rent, the horse industry and its allies are also asking that Congress include the rental of business-related equipment as an eligible expense under Paycheck Protection.  Also, a staff member of the Senate Agriculture Committee has stated that committee leadership supports publication of SBA guidance tailor-made for agriculture.

Lawmakers, Administration, Compile Wish Lists for CARES Act 2.0
Congress could face a prolonged stand-off in negotiations.  Not only will Democrats and Republicans in Congress have their differences, but the Administration will also have input.  For example, the Trump Administration has proposed a major infrastructure piece within a future package.  Many GOP leaders criticize this idea, mainly because of the hefty price tag.  Because the next package will begin to move in the House, many of the Democrats’ priorities will be embedded in the original bill, putting Senate Republicans on defense.  A House Democratic source identifies a $500 billion boost for state and local governments, more money for mass transit, and eliminating the cap on the State and Local Tax deduction, commonly referred to as the SALT deduction, included in recent tax reform legislation, as priorities in the next relief package.  GOP members, however, will advocate for civil liability protections related to COVID-19 exposure, an issue that will be a point of contention with Democrats.  While a path forward remains uncertain for items not directly related to COVID-19, lawmakers could face political pressure to move more quickly on narrow packages that directly address emergency relief measures, including SBA’s loan programs.

SBA Announces Record Processing of Paycheck Protection Loans
On May 3, one week following release of the second batch of funds totaling $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA announced that it made more 2.2 million loans.  This figure surpasses the 1.6 million loans distributed pursuant to “round one,” which began on April 3 and dried up on April 16.  During the first week, SBA had distributed $175 billion of loans, more than half the allotment authorized under the “Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act,” also known as “CARES Act 1.5.”  According to SBA, the average size of the loans distributed totals $79,000, which is less than half the size of the loans disbursed during the first round.  To view a copy of the SBA statement related to loan statistics, please see the following link:  https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/joint-statement-administrator-jovita-carranza-and-secretary-steven-t-mnuchin-success-paycheck

Details:  Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org.


Resources for Non-Profits

 Resources for Equine Associations

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a very significant on equine associations, as it has with all aspects of our lives. For national, regional and state breed and discipline organizations, the impact is both financial and a public relations dilemma. How do you promote memberships when the impetus for joining is often competition-related, and competitions are delayed or cancelled? What do you say to trainers whose livelihoods depend on competing and buying and selling horses? How do you respond to instructors who need lesson riders, but have had to close their doors to the public due to state regulations?

Many organizations have taken steps to provide guidance for their members as states start to gradually reopen. For example, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has developed a COVID-19 Action Plan for Returning Safely to Competition. The Joint Leadership Council (JLC), which consists of leaders from the American Hackney Horse Society, American Morgan Horse Association, American Road Horse & Pony Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association, Arabian Horse Association, United Professional Horsemen’s Association and the United States Equestrian Federation, has created guidelines for reopening barns. The American Paint Horse Association passed an emergency stimulus bill that included extending an extra year of eligibility for Novice Youth and Novice Amateurs, Youth in their last year of Walk-Trot, Youth 13 & Under and Youth 18 & Under, and Green classes, and modifying the requirements for Regional Club eligibility, due to limitations they might encounter due to event restrictions in 2020 due to COVID-19.

These are simply a handful of the ways organizations are working to help their members adapt to our current “normal”. True to its nature, the horse industry is working together to help everyone weather this storm.

Details: Contact Molly O’Brien at TTR@horsecouncil.org

Membership Spotlight

On Monday, April 27, 2020 we all took a break from the COVID-19 talk and learned about “Drones in the Equine Industry” from Allison Fultz, AHC member and Transportation Attorney in private practice in Washington, DC.  Allison gave a great practical overview of the rules governing drone flights in the US with issues relevant to the equine industry.  Allison gave an excellent presentation, including PowerPoint slides, current examples of drone interference with horses, and fielded questions from our viewers.  You can view the presentation here https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/vsl1F-H-_H9JW6-UtR_UcPdxMd24eaa80HRIrqcPz0zWac5yNwycySS9dtZ-xGIy

If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint presentation please contact info@horsecouncil.org.  If you have a topic relevant to the horse industry and would like to present please contact us at info@horsecouncil.org.

Our next topic is “From the Front Gate to the Back Fence: How to be Your own CEO”  by Scott Knudsen on Monday May 18, 2020 at 1pm EDT.  To register send an email to info@horsecouncil.org

Details: Contact Lynda Majerowicz at lmajerowicz@horsecouncil.org