August 06, 2020

Interpretive Summary: Online resources to assist the equine industry during COVID-19

Interpretive Summary: Extension Horses, Inc. experts act fast to create online resources to assist the horse industry during COVID-19

By: Dr. Emily Taylor

The recent COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders have introduced new challenges for many horse owners and equine businesses. Specifically, riding, boarding, and training stables were greatly affected by a large loss of income. In addition, essential workers within the equine industry had considerable concerns about proper biosecurity and social distancing. 

Extension Horses, Inc. (EH), composed of equine experts from the academic and industry fields, worked to develop online content, programs, and resources to help the equine industry through the COVID-19 pandemic. The delivery of these materials was by infographics, webinars, and podcasts. A recent article published in Translational Animal Science evaluates the delivery of this material to the equine industry. 

Over a 32-d period, there were 135,563 reached with these educational resources. Respondents during a survey reported that Facebook, email, and word of mouth were key ways in which they learned about the webinars with an 85% satisfaction in the delivery. The three Facebook infographics reached a total of 131,765, The webinars had 3,522 views, and the three podcasts had 276 downloads. 

Extension Horses, Inc.’s rapid response to the pandemic and quick turnaround of these products allowed a large audience to receive vital information for coping with COVID-19. Because EH had an already established network, familiar with virtual education, time was not lost on the training of online tools and was a big asset in the timing of this effort. Moving forward, this can serve as a model for cooperative extension to utilize in future collaborative responses to industry issues.