We Ask the Industry: How is the Coronavirus Impacting You?
With the current Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) around the world, government officials have canceled many events in the attempt to prevent the spread of the virus to even more people. In the United States, President Trump has declared a National Emergency and is encouraging people to stay home.
These announcements have had a domino effect canceling the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the rest of the NBA season, schools, etc. President Trump has also banned people from flying from Europe to the United States for 30 days. The measure went into effect at midnight on Friday, March 13th and will last 30 days. The current situation is fluid and changing every day.
These life-changing developments have also led to major cancelations or postponements of equestrian-related events including the AQHA Convention, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, IHSA, NCEA, and YEDA equestrian competitions and horse shows across the country.
GoHorseShow talked to several individuals in the industry and asked them how the Coronavirus is impacting their lives in these uncertain times.
Patrick Kayser – The 2020 Southland Circuit was canceled due to Middle Tennessee State University closing the University-owned facilities to both internal and external events, which included horse shows at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum. Canceling this show alone will cost the local economy approximately $180,000-$250,000 based on AQHA’s formula on calculating the direct economic impact of horse shows on the local economy. This does not take into account the over $10,000 in lost income by horse show personnel, including judges, ring stewards, show secretary, and ring crew. Couple this with the time and money invested in organizing, promoting, and managing before the show the real cost to the show alone is $15,000-$20,000 for a weekend horseshow. Also, the effect of the virus on the businesses of the people who pay the trainers and show tabs are probably negatively affected by the shutdown, and how that will translate to subsequent showing this year is yet to be determined. The gravity of COVID-19 on the economy will extend far beyond the actual pandemic hysteria that is causing the cancelation of shows today.
Scott Reinartz – The virus has only impacted me by causing a panic in the general population. Leaving shelves empty with no toilet paper. I don’t go out much so I really don’t feel the impact. I worry about the elderly. They are precious to our society.
Beckie Peskin – Well, my daughter is officially being schooled from home “indefinitely.” Both my husband and I work from home, so we are lucky that is possible, but it inevitably means we will need to sit down with her and build out expectations for our days. I am supposed to show in Texas next week, but time will tell if the show happens and if we make a family decision just to stay put. We are blessed to have the resources to be okay, but my heart aches for those living more paycheck to paycheck. If this had happened when I was Ella’s age, it could have been devastating to my family. From a business perspective – I can’t imagine there are many this is good for. Perhaps certain health care supply companies, etc. I work for an Animal Health (pharmaceutical) company – so time will tell how much our industry is impacted. People still usually take care of their pets (and horses) like family. For my show clothing work – I have plenty to keep me busy for now. But really, I can’t imagine anyone will come out of this untouched.
Emma Brown – With this virus causing such a panic and the cancelation of so many events, my college classes have been postponed and then pushed to an online format. Although this virus is nothing to take lightly and is having a tremendous impact, I am choosing to see the brighter side of things that I am now able to attend a horse show that I wouldn’t have been able to participate in due to school. I am looking forward to some quality time with my four-legged boys.
Chelsea Carlson – At this point, I had just returned home from AZ Sun Circuit and was gearing up for a regional show in Washington next week. Then, following that, plan on traveling to support one of my girls at the NCEA SEC Championships. Unfortunately, the WA show has been canceled, which is understandable but hard since that was our last competition before L1 Championships. The NCAA also announced at the same time they are ending the season. This brings me to my next concern, whether they will be forced to cancel other events (Like the Level 1 Championship) as well. This is concerning as a trainer. We make a majority of our income from traveling to shows. At this point, all I can do is keep working my horses and hope for the best. Seeing as my employment is in a hobby based industry, I’m trying not to get too worked up about what may be. I have also had to hold off on maybe breeding one of my mares with the concern of shipping semen and spending money at this point of uncertainty. We all need to be smart, take precautionary measurements, but (most of all) not panic.
Meg DePalma – Other than clouding up my social media feeds, the Coronavirus hasn’t personally affected my life too much. My company has implemented some corporate policy changes to ensure a safe work environment, restricted air travel, and extensive client meetings.
Teresa Sullivan – It has big-time so far, and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse. They have canceled my overseas shows and clinics, and local horse shows have been canceled. These poor kids are all out of school for six weeks and still can’t go to horse shows. And here in Washington, we’re just waiting for them to shut down the borders.
Carey Nowacek – Luckily, the Coronavirus has not impacted me directly, yet. I am fortunate to have a job that I can work remotely if need be, and my work will continue. I do have friends who are currently not able to work, and it is terrifying for them. Traveling might be a little different for me in the upcoming weeks. For now, we are just taking one day at a time and making sure to stay diligent.
Caroline Rogers – I think that a lot of officials are taking precautions that they feel are necessary for the public as a whole. Though I don’t agree with all of it, I certainly appreciate their concern for the well being of all of us. When my husband and I found out that the Houston Livestock Show was being canceled in the middle of move-in for the Junior (Youth) Heifer Show, we almost jokingly said: “let’s host a show at our house tomorrow.” But, we decided to do just that. For us, the main focus was all about the kids. So many kids were Seniors that were going to miss their final show of the year. Every family that was there had put in countless hours, endless effort, and an untold amount of money to bring their one animal to this show. We wanted to allow them to end their show season on a positive note, instead of tears and frustration when they were told to leave the barns in Houston. But it all worked because everyone made it work. The parents, the exhibitors, the volunteers, the spectators… our setup was less than ideal in a lot of ways, but everyone made the best of it and was smiling through it all. It was probably the most amazing day I have ever been a part of – 20 hours from the time we actually decided to hold this at our farm until the first animal hit the ring, and only possible because of the hundreds of people who stepped up and pitched in.
Elizabeth Gall – I own Peachy Clean Tack that is a mobile tack cleaning service that travels to the nation’s largest horse shows. With this business being my only source of income, I am very much affected as the equestrian community is canceling and closing horse shows and venues. While it is for the safety of the public, it does affect vendors and small businesses significantly as we have no additional source of income but these events.
Susan Daniels – A lot of phone calls – the concern that facilities will close at the last minute and not keep us informed. Trying to keep exhibitors informed as best we can. Reassuring exhibitors that we will do all we can to make things as safe as possible. Our exhibitors have been very positive about trying to keep our show on schedule. Our show, Martinganza, is in a rural area not densely populated, and we think this is in our favor. Most shows won’t have forty people in one area at any given time. Classes are split at 20-25 entries depending on ring size. So, using the 100 people in a group for safety measures, we are way below that number.
Kimberly Lloyd Wright – It’s not except for the stock market. I take health precautions daily, so I am not in complete hysteria over this virus. I will continue to go about my daily life. I am not a big people person to begin with, so my interaction is pretty limited. I just hope the panic will stop and everyone will calm down.
Maggie Bellville – First off, I got to come to Venice, Florida, after the AQHA Convention was canceled. I was looking forward to the convention, but coming to Florida is okay. At this show, Fox Lea announced only owners, trainers, exhibitors, and staff were allowed on the grounds – no spectators. Other than that, so far, so good. But every day can bring something new – so if I have to be quarantined with my barn family, my horse and my dog in Florida- I guess I will have to!
Cathy Corrigan Frank – Truthfully, not a lot has changed for me. I’m still traveling in San Francisco right now and living life as usual. I may be washing my hands a bit longer, trying not to touch my face and maybe giving my best “Mare Stare” to others coughing and sneezing in my general direction, but that’s about it. One immediate negative to all of this is that MLB Opening Day has been postponed by at least two weeks. Not a happy camper about that decision.
Tim Kimura – 1) A lot of flights to Europe suspended, a lot of rescheduling, juggling. 2) Time to catch up drawing Trail patterns. 3) Time to recharge, but when back online, it’s going to be crazy traveling. 4) Longer honey-do lists at home. 5) More DADDY DOGGIE DAYCARE days… Quality time with my dogs.
Tina Azucena – You know, it’s scary. I admit to stocking up on supplies. Toilet paper? Sure. Supplies for my baby? Absolutely. Preparedness aside, it’s most important to keep stress levels in check. Fear doesn’t do any favors for our physical, emotional, or psychological health. A little self-care goes a long way.
Amy Groefsema – Professionally, it has caused interest rates to rise, which has slowed down the real estate market slightly. Personally, now that schools have been canceled for a month, my kids and I are open to travel. The first stop is to Texas where my horse is with Brad Jewett. Then, we will try to fit some beach time and if we get more snow, some ski time too.
Kellie Hinely – My kids are home from school until April 6th. Yikes! I can’t take them to Disneyland or a hockey game since they are all closed. We may do some hiking and card games. As for my business, clients are still talking about shows and showing up for lessons. That is for the local clients. My peeps that need to fly are canceling lessons.
Rebecca Wills-Fussell – Just got an email from the kids’ school. Spring Break is extended another week, and we are going to virtual learning until the end of March. I sure don’t want to be in a large crowd anywhere. Since everyone thought they needed to buy up all the toilet paper in the state, we are paying more attention to how much toilet paper we are using. The oil and gas prices are going to affect our horse showing if it doesn’t go back up in a hurry.
Ali Hubbell – Since I work in a hospital, we have access to all of the important and critical information surrounding COVID-19. They have just asked all of the people that are not clinically necessary to stay home. So, I’ll be spending more time in the barn.
Leigh Ann Griffith – Anytime there is a fluctuation in the markets, the horse community feels an impact as a luxury industry. COVID 19 is a very unique situation that is not only causing a Bear market, but public health concerns. Whether it is media driven or not at this point is completely irrelevant. We are in the middle of a situation, but it will pass.
In our particular business, we respect that our Governor has closed state universities for face-to-face teaching. Sid Griffith Equestrian Center is a large riding academy maintaining about 50 school horses with university contracts dating back to 1976. Since riding is a physical activity, we are adapting as we speak to create an online curriculum for our college students which will replace the hours in the saddle during the face-to-face ban. In addition, we are the host facility for the hunt seat equestrian team at Ohio State. While our collegiate and IEA show schedules have been canceled for the year, we are working directly with our department to explore any available participation options for our competitive students. Our university’s spring break has been extended for an additional week, at which time we will implement the online only curriculum for accredited classes. It is also noteworthy that several universities have opted for an early graduation for seniors. That is a terrific way to put these new professionals into the job market and prepare for their futures early.
Additionally, we have both AQHA and hunter discipline public riding clients. USEF has placed a temporary hold on shows, but we are pleased to be competing this weekend at an AQHA event in Venice where the farm has only put a ban on outside spectators as a precaution. The next few weeks will be inconvenient and an adjustment period, but I am optimistic for this matter to level off sometime next month.
How has the Coronavirus impacted your life? Please let us know.