IF IT’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOLF…

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ETN editor Liz Benwell on why time will tell and covering up in the sunshine

Last week, the governing bodies for golf and fishing submitted proposals to the Government explaining how their sports could resume sooner rather than later. 

With sport (played alone or with family members) mentioned by Boris Johnson in his televised ‘coronavirus speech’ on Sunday evening, their timing was spot on. 

Of course, playing golf and going fishing can work perfectly well as solitary pursuits. Participants turn up in their own vehicles, bring their own equipment, have no contact with anyone else, then go home again. 

Clearly golfers would sacrifice the 19th hole and anglers forsake sharing sandwiches and flasks… Checking in at a course or lake can be socially distanced or digital.

Importantly, it all happens in the fresh air where scientists say there’s greatly reduced chance of virus transmission. 

Surely, the arguments being put forward for fishing and golf also apply to riding? Of course, it couldn’t be anything too complicated or with spectators – but fun rides (on private land), low key jumping shows or dressage competitions must be possible?

As I write [on Monday morning], English golf courses are mowing their greens in anticipation of opening on Wednesday. Should riding venues be doing the same? 

And before anyone screams ‘what happens if riders fall off’, statistically there are more air ambulance calls to golfers having suspected heart attacks than riders falling off.

Time will tell

By about week four of lockdown, all those amusing videos and jokes had worn a bit thin as the realisation of what a horrible mess we’re in began to sink in.

Lockdown was easy - everyone knew what they had to do – compared with climbing out of it.

The upcoming weeks and months will be complicated, compounded by differences between what’s permitted in England compared with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Spare a thought for borders-based businesses with customers on both sides. 

If I was editing a travel or in-flight magazine, what on earth could I say to my readers? In fact, there probably wouldn’t be a magazine, let alone any readers… I suppose we must count our blessings that consumers in our market still need to feed and care for their horses, albeit some owners will struggle for money. The lucky ones are even planning activities.

All we can do is make the most of the advantages we have and try to stay positive. I take my hat off to the entrepreneurs and business owners who are working their socks off to secure a future for us all. 

As we work out how to get back to work, one thing we’re all going to need more of in the upcoming weeks is time. In shops, offices and factories, everything takes longer while working at a social distance. 

But we’ll just have to be patient if we’re to avoid being patients. 

Learning a lesson about sunburn

They say you never stop learning about horses. I was well and truly caught out by that lovely sunny weather last month. 

When giving my skewbald pony, who is predominantly white, a quick groom before riding, I noticed some very slightly ridged skin on her saddle area. It’s easy to feel as she’s completely clipped out.

Oh dear, was my first thought, the saddle is rubbing. Thanks to lockdown I’d been unable to have the fit checked at the usual six-monthly interval. Maybe it’s because she’s lost weight, was my next thought as I stood back to have a look.

Only then did it hit me… the poor pony’s skin had a definite pink hue about it. I’d stupidly left her out all day, forgetting that, due to being clipped, she had no protection from the sun’s rays. I could have kicked myself…

Luckily, it had all calmed down by the next day – and a fly rug has gone on for turnout while the coat grows back. Lesson learnt.

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