Covid-19 outbreak: Polo Fights Dark Days of Uncertainty
It in this time of pandemic, we must all stand together and fight the dark days
While the world is fighting the unprecedented neo coronavirus outbreak and its repercussions, it is advised to think logically and to act with determination. This is no time to panic, but to exercise caution. In view of the fast spread of the virus, the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. Healthcare workers, local administrations, as well as the concerned governments have been devising plans and ways to keep all safe and to cut this dreaded chain. Coronavirus, or Covid-19’s impact on animals needs to be examined.
Cancellation of Events
Most of the Horse Race events have been either called off, or are being moved under closed doors. The sport witnessed the play with fewer gatherings and under safety measures until COVID-19 was in its first two tiers. Gradually, many of the events have been called off.
Some of the recent cancellations are:
- The Mumbai Polo Season 2020 called off for the March 20, 10-Goal Tournament
- Jaipur Polo Season 2020 suspended until further notice
- HH President of UAE Polo Cupwas suspended from play after three days of action. The notice read: “As per instruction of HH Sheikh Falah Bin Zayed Al Nayan, Chairman of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, and as part of preventive measures for Coronavirus and in completion of the precautionary measures taken by sports institutions with all entities and bodies to preserve the health and safety of all members of the society, it is decided to postpone the HH President's Cup until further notice.”
- The Dubai Challenge Cup which falls under the Dubai Gold Cup Series, was cancelled. The tournament had to get into action from March 14 -21, 2020.
- The Gauntlet of Polo, USPA Gold Cup was put off from action until March 31, 2020.
- TheUS Open Women’s Polo Championshipwas suspended to be put on hold till March 31, 2020.
- A statement released by the HPA stated: “Consequently, all HPA courses have been postponed or cancelled and clubs are requested to postpone or cancel all polo tournaments until May 1…This date will be kept under constant review."
- At the Thai Polo Club, Gral Rodriguez, Argentina, theThai Polo Autumn Cup got cancelled.
- AAP and the AAJP together announced: “Due to circumstances known to the public, the AAP together with the AAJP have announced that all official tournaments have been absolutely suspended.”
- TheSan Eugenio Polo Clubcancelled theSan Eugenio Ladies Cup Autumn 2020that was to get into action from March 26-29, 2020
Vis-a vis Polo’s involvement of ponies into the game, we need to look into the safety measures that must be taken care of with the loyal animal. While the rest of the world is closing down schools, colleges, cinemas, malls and every sort of place that involves a gathering of people, we need to find out what will happen to the sport, riding, ponies and players.
Dr Anil Lahane, an equine practitioner and a veterinary doctor, told LA POLO: “The coronavirus has by far not affected any horse in India or internationally.” He added further: “Till now there is no report of any animal or bird who has been affected with the coronavirus.” Explaining his views and study furthermore, he said: “Even if there is no such case that has come across the world, we must still take care of the basic sanitary hygiene of the horses.”
Dr Akruti Choksi, an equine dental technician, stated: “It’s not a subject of panic. The virus does not affect the horses, at least it hasn’t as yet. But, basic sanitary care is obviously necessary.” She added: “It’s the caretakers, groomers especially, who need to take care of themselves, before they go near the horses.”
Taking Care of Horses
- Players are suggested to use own sanitized equipment
- At this stage, players are advised to maintain a social distance from their fellow players and horses
- Before entering the stables, players must sanitize their hands and cover their faces with masks in case of cough and sneeze
- Groomers must ensure that the utensils of the horses are washed well
- Before feeding or cleaning the ponies or horses, groomers need to be well sanitized
- Horses do not need to be locked down, since so far there is no case recorded of infection or virus in any of the animals.
Safety measures can prevent flare ups and save a million lives. It is time that we stand together to fight back the coronavirus that has taken a toll over the physical and mental health of all. It is time to respect social distancing for the betterment of each other.