Emails, handwashing and outdoor meetings - how a stud adapts in difficult times
Whitsbury Manor's Ed Harper explains the changes to life in Hampshire
A filly foal born at Whitsbury Manor Stud last week with a bold white question mark stretching down her head serves as a living reminder to director Ed Harper to ensure all visitors are fully briefed.
As with other major operations around Europe, Hampshire’s Whitsbury Manor is still currently business as usual in the midst of the covering season with resident stallions Showcasing, Havana Grey, Due Diligence and Adaay on duty to receive mares.
However, along with its various competitors, maintaining hygiene and reducing personal contact to be vigilant against the spreading of coronavirus is the priority.
"We’re just being careful; we had a meeting with the staff about how we need to be responsible for each other’s wellbeing and basically following government advice about not going out to the pub and so on," said Harper.
"The vets are no longer coming into the office to have a chat, and any discussions that would have been happening inside the office are now outside."
While the wider repercussions for the entire racing industry go on, including the cancellation of racing until at least May along with the direct and indirect effects on sales, Harper reported that trade further back up the production line has been able to continue during the upheaval.
"People tend to ring up and ask if there are any different protocols on walking mares in; we explain the minor changes we’ve made, which most of them expected anyway, and then they come along," he said.
"Often people would come to the office to let us know that they were there, or to bring paperwork, but we have signs on the loading ramp to ask people with walk-ins to stay with their vehicle and we'll come and fetch the horse ourselves for covering.
"Once our staff have put the horse back on the lorry they wash their hands. It’s generally being sensible. It does help if we’ve had the walk-in paperwork emailed in advance as then there’s less handling of it all, and we’re trying to get that message across.
Rathbarry & Glenview Studs, in the interest of health & safety, insist that all visitors & breeders must remain in their vehicles until attended to by a member of staff. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.— Rathbarry & Glenview (@RathbarryStud) March 16, 2020
Rathbarry +353 (0)25 36362
Glenview +353 (0)25 36701
"I suppose our rural location might make us feel a bit safer - whether it does or not, I’m not sure. But we’re not surrounded by a great population of comings and goings. Most of our staff also live on site anyway, we’re lucky to have a lot of accommodation, and it at least means there’s a bit less commuting."
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