What Happened to The Horse Community During The Pandemic?

It's time to get back in the saddle

What+Happened+to+The+Horse+Community+During+The+Pandemic%3F

Sierra Sisneros, Staff Writer

Payton Porterfield PC- Payton Porterfield

From rodeo, to Western pleasure, the horse show season starts at the same time every year, usually in May. This year, many people in the horse community were bored due to the coronavirus pandemic because horse shows and rodeos were cancelled during quarantine.

After months and months of practice everyone was let down by the cancelled events.

However, that did not stop the horse community from practicing and working harder to become better.

Most horse shows and rodeos are happening again, but in a much different format than the participants are used to. With all the free time on their hands, most got more practice than usual. I was very disappointed with all the cancelled rodeos and horse shows, as it felt like I had been preparing all year for nothing.

One of my good friends, Payton Porterfield, shows horses in the American Quarter Horse Youth Association and any open Western pleasure. She told me many of her shows got canceled due to COVID-19.

Loralee Ward, another friend of mine, had her whole high school rodeo season cancelled. Some of those shows got rescheduled, but many didn’t. In the beginning, Payton felt it was nice to stay home and get to work with her horses, and she also partook in some online shows with her horse.

Very quickly Payton got tired of the online shows, she and most of the horse community, including me, wanted to go to a real show again.

Sierra Sisneros PC- Sierra Sisneros

Payton was very lucky to be able to go up and work at her barn all throughout quarantine. She helped her trainer, Cody, work all of her horses, so nothing  changed for Payton in that sense.

The one thing that changed was that most of her yearly shows were canceled. For Loralee, during quarantine she tried to keep her horse in shape to be ready for shows and rodeos. She stated that she definitely got more training in than normal during quarantine.

I personally got much more practice in than I usually do for both barrel racing and Western pleasure. For me, everyday was practice and then more practice. In the end it all paid off.

My horse, Trigger, is much better trained, and we have a faster barrel racing time. I had a better chance to get out and work my horses every day. It was a lot different because I couldn’t enter in a bunch of different rodeos for more practice. Throughout the whole quarantine we all felt our horses improved and came out to be better.

You may wonder how the shows and rodeos are being run now with COVID happening? This year, Payton and Loralee competed at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) world show. Payton said that the AQHYA worlds were not necessarily run different.

There were many different COVID requirements that were always being announced all the way through the show: if you were not actively working or riding your horse you had to have a mask on,  people were walking around telling the competitors that they must put on a mask, and constantly announcing the rules of social distancing at the show.

Loralee also added that this year for AQHYA Worlds, any youth constant could compete, they did not have to qualify because of the coronavirus pandemic. My first American Paint Horse Association show in September, will be the same way. All my other American Paint Horse Association were canceled due to coronavirus.

The coronavirus has impacted many different parts of our lives. For the horse community, it has impacted our whole season. We don’t have very many shows before our season ends for the year, and we just have to continue to practice. We all expected a normal horse show and rodeo year, however, sadly that didn’t happened.

My friends and I learned that when everything else fails you have to love the little things and go to every show and rodeo when you can. Most of us grew up in the horse community, so this year was much different and tougher than we’ve ever experienced. It really opened my eyes because we never thought something like this would happen in our lifetime.