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Riding schools in Ontario looking forward to finally offering riding camps as restrictions are being lifted got quite an unpleasant surprise when the Ministry of Health issued its “COVID-19 Guidance: Summer Day Camps” on June 1st. In addition to an exhaustive list of health and safety requirements necessary for day camps to put in place in light of the ongoing pandemic, there was this startling clause:

Sec. 3, Item 9: Do not plan activities with exposures to animals or pets.

This would appear to preclude riding camps utilizing horses. The issue, which would land yet another crippling blow to the already struggling horse industry in the province, was a topic addressed at a June 4th meeting by Ontario Equestrian. While no official statement has yet been released by OE, Brandon Hall, Director of Marketing & Communications assures that, “Since its release, OE and EC have been pressing hard to get this confirmed so we can confidently go out to the community to resolve any confusion about equestrian camps being included in this document, or better yet, excluded. As of this morning, we have received a third update that there’s still no movement on the topic; this has yet again become a stressful waiting game.”

More details will be provided as they become available.