The following procedures for organizers of Equestrian Events in Minnesota are provided as guidance by the Minnesota Horse Council for consideration as sporting events and gatherings are allowed. The purpose of this document is to provide specific and common sense procedures to help reduce people's exposure to airborne infectious disease at Equestrian Events and to encourage voluntary compliance and community cooperation in enforcement.

 "Equestrian Events" means horse shows, rodeo and gymkhana, group trail rides, riding lessons, therapeutic riding and equine-assisted learning activities, and any other equine- oriented events organized to bring people together.

Legal Requirements

  • Equestrian Events must comply with applicable laws, including restrictions imposed by local ordinances, State laws and any Executive Order in effect during the Statewide Emergency Declaration.
  • Insurers of Equestrian Events should be contacted in advance by organizers to avoid coverage disputes in connection with the pandemic.

 Riding Lessons

  • Develop and post a COVID-19 response plan, including any changes to your Barn Rules, and post it at your barn
  • Students should stay home if they or any household member is ill or knows they've been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19
  • Reduce interpersonal contact by requiring student-drop off and designating waiting areas with 6 foot distancing using visual cues like colored tape
  • Require students to wash their hands when they enter the barn, and encourage frequent hand-washing while at the barn and when they leave.
  • Encourage students to wear riding gloves to help discourage them from touching their face
  • Maintain social distance as much as possible and avoid close interaction with others in the barn.
  • Provide hand sanitizer throughout the barn and encourage students to use it.
  • Require students and staff to wear a mask in the barn or when gathered within speaking distance of others. Wearing one while riding is optional.

 Therapeutic Riding and Equine-Assisted Learning Activities

  • Contact your insurer before commencing programs or activities during the pandemic to discuss any needed accommodations and avoid disputes over coverage of claims
  • Cancel or postpone sessions or activities with clients whose condition requires physical assistance or close personal contact, who cannot or refuse to wear a mask, or who have increased vulnerability to risk of infection
  • Require staff, volunteers, clients and family members or personal assistants to wear a mask at all times unless mounted on a horse
  • Follow applicable recommendations for Riding Lessons, above.

 Horse Shows, Rodeos and Gymkhana

  • Develop an advance plan, publish and/or send it to all participants before the event, including judges and officials

        o Appoint a contact person to answer questions and for reporting unsafe conditions

        o Consider providing a map of show grounds indicating special accommodations like            sanitation stations

        o Remind participants of and encourage compliance with social distancing of 6 feet              or more for all persons who are not from the same household

        o Recommend masks be worn by all persons except mounted riders when within                speaking distance of others who are not from the same household

        o Post signs at prominent locations around show grounds with contact information              and reminders of the above measures

  • Close events to general public and spectators, but consider offering a live feed of show results or livestreaming of awards presentations
  • Require CDC and MDH sanitation and distancing compliance by vendors
  • Inform judges and officials that masks may be worn by competitors but are not required in classes, and masks shall not be considered in the competition criteria
  • Limit riders and support persons like trainers and grooms in warmup arena to allow continuous spacing of 6 feet or more
  • Structure a safe environment for organizers and volunteers

        o Require face masks be worn by all persons except mounted riders when within                 speaking distance of others who are not from the same household

        o Provide visual cues like colored tape for marking 6 foot social distancing                           throughout show grounds in areas likely to have people waiting in line

  • Provide convenient sanitizing stations throughout show grounds
  • Ensure frequent sanitizing of toilet facilities, including disinfection of frequently touched surfaces like handles and faucets
  • Plan procedures to avoid interpersonal contact

        o Provide a table for placement and pickup of trophies and ribbons

        o Limit the number of persons together in the Show Office or other confined spaces.

 Group Trail Rides

  • Reduce interpersonal contact by enabling electronic payment and limiting persons in buildings or confined spaces
  • Structure waiting areas to indicate 6 foot distancing with visual cues like colored tape
  • Limit rides to the number of riders who can safely maintain 6 foot social distance in mounting area
  • Require guides to wear a mask while assisting riders (e.g., checking cinches and adjusting stirrups)
  • Require ground staff and volunteers to wear masks when working within speaking distance of others.


  • Always be respectful of others. Do not personally intervene or confront people.
  • Report unintended violations and potentially hazardous conditions to organizers.
  • Report knowing or intentional violators to law enforcement if public safety is compromised.

 Additional Resources

 MHC is grateful to the following organizations for their leadership in publishing information that helped inform these Best Practices. Visit their web sites for additional information and guidance.

 Equestrian Organizations

 American Horse Council:

 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF):

 Joint Leadership Council (JLC) including members of the American Saddlebred Association (ASHA), American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA), American Hackney Horse Society (AHHS), American Road Horse and Pony Association (ARHPA) and the United Professional Horsemen's Association (UPHA) along with input from the Arabian Horse Association (AHA):

 Federal and State Resources:

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Office of the Minnesota Governor, COVID-19 Response:

Minnesota Department of Health:

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR):


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