How COVID-19 Has Affected Equine-Related Businesses

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Compiled by Nancy Brannon

Magnolia Equine Assisted Therapies

Cristin Jordan is a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor and Executive Director of Magnolia Equine Assisted Therapies near Lebanon, Tennessee. Magnolia Equine is a non-profit therapeutic riding program that offers a “safe, fun, therapeutic, and educational horsemanship and riding program for riders of all ages and abilities, preferably at little to no cost to the families.  Many families of children/adults with disabilities have far too many expenses to be able to afford therapeutic riding.  Horses have amazing healing capabilities, and therapeutic riding can have results that are very difficult to recreate in an office setting.  No one should have to miss out on the healing gift of horses because they cannot afford to ride.”

If you visit their website at: you’ll find the saying, “God does not always make things easy, but He does make them possible.” But during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, things are a lot more difficult than usual. Here’s how Cristin described the situation at Magnolia:

“Corona has not been kind to small businesses.  We have been on ‘corona break’ since March 17th, and are following CDC, state, and PATH International recommendations for closure.  Currently, we have no lesson income while we are on break, and the uncertain economy is affecting people's ability to donate.  We had to postpone our March fundraiser, and are really hoping to reschedule for this summer. At this time, we are hoping to be able to return to work during the first week of May.  That is the plan anyway, although we wonder just how long we are going to have to be socially isolated. The money has stopped coming in, but our bills have not stopped.  It is definitely a weird time that we are living in at the moment.

“Other than corona, we are doing really well and had several new students who were supposed to start in April.  Starting this week (April 6), we are now doing online lessons.  It is not the same as actually being at the barn and riding (and does not bring in lesson money), but I can send our students information online to learn things like coat colors, parts of the horse, parts of tack, discipline specific info, etc.  It is basically like online summer horse camp, just without riding.”

If anyone would like information on how to donate to Magnolia Equine, email Cristin at  


Freedom Reigns Ranch

Carissa Ramsdell is a professional equine photographer who also runs Freedom Reigns Ranch in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee. The name, Freedom Reigns Ranch, is based on the Bible verse in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that states “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” “Igniting hope with the help of a horse” is the theme of this 501(c)(3) public charity that provides free-of-charge mentoring sessions to children and young adults who have been through trauma and other life-challenges. They also have an equine rescue program for rehabilitating neglected horses. At a time when both people and horses need care the most, the coronavirus pandemic has made providing these services most difficult. Here’s how Carissa assessed her situation, trying to remain upbeat:

“We’re doing well here. I'm taking care of the horses along with two essential staff members. We’ve been connecting with session families and ranch kids via phone and postal mail – sending them photos of their favorite horses and letters from their session leaders.

“Like, I’m sure, most non-profit organizations, especially those who derive no income from services (like us), we’re faced with the reality that giving (understandably!) isn’t a priority when faced with a tight economy, job losses, pay cuts, and medical bills. Our two spring fundraisers were postponed/cancelled. But we are praying for continued provision and generous hearts for those who are able to give to allow us to jump right back in at full capacity as soon as the safe-at-home mandate lifts and it’s deemed safe to do so. So many intense situations for families, before this pandemic, are now amplified with the reality of the state of our world. And we want to serve them well.

“If you are at all able, please consider giving to your favorite organizations, if that’s possible during this time. Horses still need excellent care even when human society is in chaos. ‘Trust steadily. Hope unswervingly. Love extravagantly!’ (1 Corinthians 13:13)”

Find more information about the programs at Freedom Reigns Ranch at: . See Carissa Ramsdell’s photography at:


Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy

Southern Reins is a charitable, non-profit organization that offers equine assisted activities and therapies to individuals with disabilities and hardship, living in the Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas area. The program was started in 2015 in Nesbit, Mississippi and has since expanded to a second facility on Billy Bryant Road in Fisherville, Tenn.

They offer adaptive horseback riding, occupational therapy incorporating hippotherapy, horsemanship/barn lessons, equine assisted psychotherapy, and PATH Intl. equine services for Heroes. Southern Reins does charge for their services, except for the Equine Services for Heroes, which are provided free to active, reserve and retired military personnel and first responders who have been physically or mentally injured in the line of duty. Southern Reins also provides one week of summer camp at a cost of $250 per participant.

Since March 26, all lessons at both campuses are cancelled until further notice.

Jill Haag, Executive Director and a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor at Southern Reins, has an amazing capacity for fundraising. In January 2020, she reported the great success of their Annual Fundraising Campaign, which raised $36,000.

Their annual Jockeys & Juleps Derby Party fundraiser, originally scheduled for May 2, has been postponed until September 5 to coincide with the running of the Kentucky Derby. Tickets to this event are $150 General Admission (w/o Mint Julep cup) or $200 General Admission (w/ commemorative Mint Julep cup).

The EQUUS Foundation announced April 28, 2020 the immediate allocation of $100,000 to the EQUUS Foundation Guardian charities. Each eligible charity will receive a $500 grant for horse care costs (feed, bedding and health care) upon approval of its 2020 EQUUS Foundation Guardian Seal. Southern Reins is a 2019-2020 Guardian charity.

Find more information about Southern Reins at:


A message from Carole Herder at Cavallo, Inc.:

“This Coronavirus pandemic is awakening millions of us to the reality of our inter-connectedness. The virus doesn’t discriminate against race, nationality, religion, political beliefs, or financial status. We are in this together. The human spirit is strong. The upside is that many of us are feeling the drive to kindness, compassion and cooperation, even while faced with financial, health and other challenges. Harmony, trust, faith and hope will see us through and when this scourge ends, we’ll triumph by carrying this higher level of consciousness on to the benefit of all.”



Monty McInturff, DVM at Tennessee Equine Hospital wrote to us: “Veterinary medicine has been considered an essential service by [Tennessee] Governor Bill Lee, and Tennessee Equine Hospital has worked hard to protect both our staff and our customers, as we all battle the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our internal staff segmentation policies and our ‘staff only’ hospital facility policies have encouraged appropriate social distancing and helped make our team feel safe as we continue to care for horses. Horses do not know there is a pandemic and are still in need of medical care. We are working hard to conserve any PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) articles, but will continue to provide the appropriate medical care that our patients need.

“From vaccines and reproductive care to essential surgeries, we are still operational at all of our locations. We want to remind horse owners that vaccinations are essential, as well as a strong deworming program built around fecal test results.The spring is the perfect time to get your preventative care and wellness work done to protect your horse, as the warmer weather brings about many seasonal parasites and diseases.

“Starting your foal off right is important. Make sure to have your new foal’s colostrum IGG levels checked between 8 and 24 hours after foaling. This can help prevent any complications early on.

“The biggest change we have seen to the horse community is the delay in horse shows and events. It has been refreshing to see the horse community coming together to stay safe during these pandemic times, and Tennessee Equine Hospital [and all other veterinarians] will continue to care for all of your horse’s medical needs.”


Over the next month, let us know how YOUR Equine-Related Business is doing. Contact the Mid-South Horse Review at (901) 867-1755 or email us at We hope you all are staying safe and well.


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