We Ask the Industry: How Has the Coronavirus Changed Your Life Going Forward?
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of everyone around the world. In the future, this period will likely be referred to as a turning point in our history like the Great Depression did in the 1930s.
We asked individuals in the horse industry how the quarantine has impacted their lives going forward. Some people saw a silver lining to the lockdown, which resulted in them spending more time with their families. Others said they will never take for granted the opportunity to go to a horse show ever again. Read on to hear some insightful responses from our fellow equestrians.
Amy Groefsema – This is such a hard time for everyone being affected in a variety of ways. I have some strong feelings on how this has been handled, but I will not get into that. I have had to put my teaching credential back to use and teach my kids from home, which reminds me of why I got out of teaching (laughs). I’ve been able to ride my 2-year-old every day until the day he sold. I’ve been able to do trail rides with my kids and niece and nephew. I’ve finished projects around the house and barn. It hasn’t changed my priorities but instead, provided time to do things. However, I fear that future life will be extremely different in some of the proposed laws that are passed and enacted to open up this state (California) as they go against the freedoms we once had. I hope and pray for our health, safety, and freedom.
Maggie Bellville – It has undoubtedly caused me to be more grateful for our friends and horses during this time. My horse, Flip is an hour away from me, and his town is quarantined. I can’t go to see him and my trainer – that’s been hard. So, I realize how lucky I am to have Rob Meneely and Dawn Lovern taking care of him and maintaining his athleticism. Also, I will never get lazy about going to see him and riding. We are fortunate to have our horses and great professionals taking care of them. We will be back to riding and showing and being with our great friends in this industry shortly. Maintaining our health is crucial at this time. Stay safe.
Lana Markway – Since the virus, I would say my goals and priorities with my horses have not changed. Trying to be cautious and following guidelines, but that doesn’t change daily life. I am working from home now, but the horses and farm haven’t changed much at all. It’s given me a little time to breathe and focus on more than just going to horse shows. However, I’m ready to get back to it. If we don’t, I am fearful of what the future looks like for the horse industry.
Kathy Tobin – Jerry and I being like so many others, in that “higher risk” group, we’ve been staying home, doing takeout, and home deliveries. It has made us fearful of groups of people until they can find a cure or a reliable vaccine. We may do horse shows during the summer if the virus seems “seasonal,” but I do have concerns for the fall shows. Time will tell, and for now, we are careful, but I think we all need to do what’s best for ourselves. No one is right or wrong; we just have to get through this together. It has shown me how quickly things can change. So, we will wait and see and take it as it comes and pray we get a cure or vaccine soon.
Julie Hoefling – It is interesting. It has changed my life in many ways, but then not so much in other ways. I’ve been fortunate to keep my career and can work remotely from my home office. I have loved that aspect as I had a long commute, so it has allowed me to be able to work out more, spend time with my dogs and husband, eat better and just live at a bit of a slower pace. I’ve also been able to ride my horse a little more and spend more quality time at the barn, which has helped to battle isolation. In general, it has opened my eyes to the blessings in my life and how fortunate I am to have the home, job, family, and animals I do. I am looking at this time as a time to slow down, reflect, and take the time to live life how we should be living. I will say, though, I am looking forward to getting my nails done and going out for Mexican food and going to South Point. I miss horse shows and showing in Las Vegas.
Hilary Reinhard – The COVID crisis hit my family pretty hard in a different way than it hit most people. My mom’s cancer took a bad turn right about the time we were all getting stay at home orders. She passed away just a couple weeks later, but we can’t have a funeral at this time. I couldn’t surround myself with family and friends at our annual Easter party. So, the isolation and inability to escape have been hard. Watching my friends with small businesses struggle has reinforced my belief to shop locally. Having both my husband and I working from home has made me rethink our house’s open floor plan.
Blake Carney – Well, I could make a mean joke and talk about how it’s a lot easier to get the riding done when no customers are coming and going throughout the day. Seriously though, we have been able to get a lot of saddle time in with our horses. Particularly with the young horses, we would usually be heavily on the road showing right now, so that has been nice. I’m excited to see my clients and friends again once everything is fully operational. Still, I do think I would like to consider making a day or two a week a “no lessons” day, so I can get ahead on some of the horses that stay busy with their owners. I have been able to add quite a few new events to many of my horses since we haven’t been on the road. Things like adding lead changes or tough trail components are much easier to tackle when you don’t have to think about getting the horse ready for the upcoming show and focus on the classes that they will be immediately showing in. I believe my clients are going to be pleased with the progress of their horses when they come to ride consistently again. The flip side for me personally is I enjoy coaching, and I haven’t done much of that the last month, so I hope they are ready for me.
Alyse Roberts – This COVID-19 virus has changed the way we live our lives right now; daily life is different for everyone. Going forward, I just put my head down and do what I love to do. I have a new farm, and lots of horses to keep me busy. I am fortunate to have such wonderful customers and clients that know that better days are coming. We keep in touch; we talk, we share our hopes for the future. This terrible virus won’t shake this industry. We are a strong-willed bunch, and we will all be back together soon.
Susan Daniels – I am fortunate. I miss my friends and my horse show family, but I live in a small community, and I am not used to going to many places. We stay pretty close to home. We raise vegetables in our garden, so we don’t need a lot of stuff from the grocery store. We have followed the stay at home order pretty close, but we are okay. Our prayers go out to all that have to work and do not have that option.
Lauren Stanley – This has been such an unexpected season. I wish we could be with friends showing as we all had planned. However, I feel guilty admitting that there are some aspects of it I genuinely love. I didn’t realize how “busy” my daily life was, and how many of the things I was busy with were nonessential. I never felt like I had enough time in the day between work, riding, cooking, cleaning, etc. With the limited activities that we can do, I have found myself with plenty of time to complete all my required tasks, and I even have time now to do things like sewing or garden. Wow, who knew there was time for those things. I have also enjoyed the more significant time spent with family and the outdoor activities we have been doing. In regards to the horses, I am missing horse showing and the community there so much. This has made me appreciate them as a family that I dearly miss. I am loving all the ways that people and trainers are working to keep everyone in touch, though. It has been awesome to listen to shows like “Keeping it Real” and other various training opportunities that have come up, so we can continue to learn from home and be ready for whenever the next show comes up.
Jessica Noiseaux – I don’t think the Coronavirus has changed our life going forward. It did allow us the time to stop and appreciate the little things; being at home, finishing projects we never seem to get to, training horses without a looming and immediate deadline. It took some of the rush out of our lives, which was kind of a nice change. It did open our eyes as new business owners how important it is to have a sustainable business that can be supported without the extra income from going to horse shows that we become so reliant on as a whole. I feel like I can speak for most of us to say we are going to be reenergized and more thankful than ever to be able to do what we love when we are finally ready to return to normal.
Beckie Peskin – We are struggling with the same things others are…like balancing homeschooling with work, trying to keep an eight-year-old happy, dealing with neighbors that are not even attempting to implement social distancing, the “new normal” of no travel, etc. Still, we have also had some real wins. We are spending more time as a family, doing little projects we had pushed off, and spending more time outside. I think it has been the real kick in the pants. Our family has decided we want more property and will (hopefully) be moving when this is all over. We are lucky. We have jobs we can do safely from home and a lovely home to do it in.
Jenn Wheeler – I would say the virus hasn’t really changed anything for us drastically, but that in itself has just made us very thankful. We have lost a lot of income without shows, and that’s a big hit. But, we also aren’t paying for fuel, tires, hotels, etc. all the things that come with horse shows so really it’s not too bad. I realized how much money we spend just to do horse shows. The sponsorships, supplies, curtains, etc. all the stuff. It’s a lot of money; maybe we do fewer shows from now on. I’m also happy we have trucks and trailers that are paid for, being smart, and having beautiful vehicles and trailers, but not spending ridiculous amounts of money to look “cool” with a brand new rig was an excellent idea. I see a lot of people that spend so much money to look a certain way, so they attract business that way. That’s all good and great, but then what happens when the economy tanks? We are getting a ton of quality time with our yearlings and two-year-olds that we have never had before. It is so rewarding…it makes me miss having that time to really train horses and not just show, show, show. We will use this time to grow and progress, so we are ready to hit the road again. I can tell you one thing, I will never complain about horse shows after this. I’ll just be so happy to be at one.
Scott Trahan – Surely, it makes us realize things can change in a blink of an eye. So, I believe in our family, it makes us think to be more conservative about how we live from being aware of our surroundings and don’t get too far financially over your skies.
Jeremy Price – As of now, I feel we’re too early to tell how it will alter our lives and business. I hope it goes back to normal, but the reality is we will most likely have additional precautions to follow at home, on the road, and at shows. The virus will be here, regardless of how long we quarantine. We need to learn how to continue our lives with it.
Kirstie Marie Jones – When Texas issued a stay at home order in March, I immediately had to reschedule all of my travel and postpone all of my photoshoots. Spring is my busiest time of year, as everyone wants to get fresh images for advertising, while it is beautiful (but not too hot) out. The first several weeks were a much-welcomed break, but as the days went on, my heart was aching. This has been a season where I have been reflective about precisely what I am missing: making new friends with fellow horse crazy girls; watching her confidence grow throughout the session; loving on her horse and learning all about their relationship; finding new ways to pose, compose, and capture them; and giving everyone a giant bear hug after the sun has set…floating on cloud nine as I drive away. I miss reliving the entire evening as I sit at my desk to edit. I miss the butterflies in my stomach as I send off the gallery to her. I miss the feeling of wanting to do it all over again. It nearly killed me to see beautiful sunsets, knowing I was missing out on the images. Overall, I knew that I loved my career. What I didn’t realize was just how much.
Ashley Enoch-Scott – It’s changed my life by making me take a step back. I’ve lived such an “on the go” lifestyle that it’s been nice getting to stay home with my family and do fun, creative activities that we wouldn’t have usually done. We’ve planted a terrarium, made a volcano, and worked on our property together. We also take family walks daily, and we will continue to do that, though maybe not every day, just to spend some good, quality time together. It’s changed my priority in life, always to make sure I have a stable source of income coming in. Since my son is young and not in school yet, I haven’t worked consistently. But he starts school in the fall full time so that I will go back to work. This virus has shown that tomorrow isn’t promised with your job, so I don’t want to keep that pressure on my husband. I want to make sure that we are doing what we need to provide for our family. We have been lucky through this, but next time, we may not be. I think it’s also made me more aware of people around me and not just staying out of their bubble, but keeping them out of mine too. My son is Type 1 Diabetic, he’s not at increased risk of contracting the virus, but he’s at risk of severe complications if he were to get it. So until we have a full understanding of this, we will continue to take precautions for him as long as we need to.
Monte Ruden – I think the world will be a different place here on out. This epidemic has opened my eyes that this is a small world, and we are connected in many ways. It has made me appreciate all the freedoms we have had in the past and how quickly they can change. Just eating out or going to a movie won’t be taken lightly. I think we all need to save a little more money for emergencies. I will look forward to returning to our new normal with horse shows again.
Kelly Kay Elvrum Johnsrud – Honestly, I’ve loved it. Does that make me an introvert? I have my family, my horses, and my dog. That’s a recipe for success for me. I wish everyone nothing but health and happiness, but I believe this situation has been a much-needed reset button for our society. We are discovering what is important to us and what’s not. I’ve observed humor, deepened compassion, and outstanding innovation. I’ve done things I didn’t know I could do, like cut my husband’s hair and work my business 100% virtually. We are learning to let go of things we can’t control and mastering what we can. Number 1 is our attitude. For me, it’s been inspiring. This time is historic. Why not see the beauty in it?
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your life going forward? Let us know in the comments.