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RQ Recommdended Protocols for Racehorse Movement - COVID-19

RQ RECOMMENDED PROTOCOLS FOR TRANSPORT OF

RACEHORSES BETWEEN RACING ZONES

 

Racing in Queensland is currently being conducted in a restricted format to minimise the risk of spread of human COVID-19 amongst racing participants and the general public.

As horses are not the primary species involved in spread of coronavirus infection, a decision has recently been made to allow movement of horses between racing zones to enable better matching of horses with racing opportunities.

As any movement of a horse necessarily also involves movement of people who are directly involved in the horse’s transport, it is vital that protocols are in place to prevent unnecessary contact between the people involved in the horse’s transport at either end of the journey.

In order to achieve the desired outcome, horse transport should involve the minimum staff necessary at all stages of the journey (pick-up, transport and drop-off). Attention must also be drawn towards the potential for gear and other objects (including the animal) that come into contact with a potentially infected person to spread the infection to another person.

Accordingly, the following protocol has been developed by Racing Queensland in conjunction with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC).

Horse Pick-up

  • Prior to arrival at pick-up location, the horse transporter should be showered and wearing a clean set of clothing. Hand hygiene should be performed just prior to arrival;
  • Prior communication with pick-up location should occur to facilitate efficient pick-up of horse;
  • The transporter should be met by one allocated person at the pick-up location who has undergone the same level of personal hygiene and hand sanitisation;
  • The truck should be made ready to receive the horse (ramps down, dividers open etc); and
  • There shall be an allocated person at the pick-up location to open the horse’s stable (while maintaining social distancing from transporter) allowing the transporter to catch the horse with their own head collar and lead and place it in the transport bay on their truck, secure the gate and drive to the destination.

Transport

  • Stops en-route should be kept to a bare minimum (fuel stop, toilet stop etc) with close attention paid to social distancing and regular hand hygiene;
  • Travel should be planned to follow the most direct route to minimise travel time; and
  • For longer journeys the legislative requirements for rest and watering stops for land transport of the horse will need to be adhered to, ensuring the horse’s welfare during the journey.

Horse Drop-off

  • Prior communication with the drop-off location is necessary to ensure the efficient drop-off of the horse at destination;
  • The transporter is to be met by a single allocated person at the drop-off destination, who has undergone personal and hand hygiene procedures as previously detailed (shower, clean clothes and hand hygiene);
  • The transporter is to provide access to the horse in the transport bay to the allocated drop-off person while maintaining social distancing;
  • The allocated drop-off person is to undo the transporter’s head collar and replace it with their own head collar and lead prior to leading the horse off the truck and into the stable complex;
  • The horse is to be shampooed in horse wash/detergent before drying off and being placed in its allocated stable;
  • All head collars and leads (transporter’s and drop-off recipient’s) are to be disinfected prior to next use; and
  • The transporter and drop-off recipient are to undergo hand hygiene.