From the Desk of Marty Schaffel: The Making of a New Normal
Published Date: Jul 28, 2020
I went into a barbecue place yesterday to pick up some dinner to take home. While waiting in line, I noticed I was getting some very cold stares. I wasn't sure what I had done. I had just left the gym. Maybe my deodorant gave out? Then it occurred to me. I forgot to put my mask on. And this is a face mask mandatory state. I immediately ran out to my car and put it on. When I walked back in, everyone was warm and friendly.
There have been safety measures and procedures at horse shows. They aren't habitual yet. And most of us don't like a face mask on or find it uncomfortable. It isn't second nature yet to expect continuous temperature checks or inquiries on everyone in our barn's health info for the last 14 days. Our actions, reactions, and support for ourselves and our community must be swift and become second nature.
The majority of the country is two months into having horse shows reopen, and we have seen COVID positive equestrians across all breeds and disciplines. The equine industry has the unique advantage of having one of the few sporting endeavors that is socially distanced by nature. We have reaped the benefit of that by being one of the only competitive events to be reopened nationwide. With the virus getting closer to our community and our industry shows, the time to make safety procedures our top priority is now. We may not be used to it, but we must prioritize it at this critical time. If it is what we must do to save lives and keep our horse shows open, it will need to be routine and habitual.
It clearly was routine and expected to wear a mask at the barbecue place. And when I failed to comply, those in the restaurant let me know—employees as well as customers. When I realized my mistake, I immediately took action. Our community must operate with the same urgency and dedication to doing what is right.
Please familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 safety protocols and procedures for every show you attend, the JLC Best Practices for Operating Competitions, and the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan for USEF- Licensed Competitions when applicable.
Marty Schaffel, ASHA President