Mary King and Lucy Wiegersma are “not panicking yet” over EIA

  • Devon-based event riders Lucy Wiegersma and Mary King have told H&H they are not panicking yet, despite their proximity to the latest case of equine infectious anaemia (EIA or swamp fever).

    Lucy Wiegersma’s yard, Warren Farm, is less than two miles from the EIA case diagnosed in Devon last weekend. While she was out competing yesterday, a spokesman said the yard had spoken to local vets and was remaining calm and vigilant.

    Read more about the signs of swamp fever and how it is transmitted .

    She said: “We don’t hack past the yard where it has been found, and there’s nothing much more we can do than remain extra vigilant.”

    Lucy’s spokesman added that locals are anxiously awaiting the results of tests done on two horses kept with the animal that was destroyed at the weekend.

    If the two horses kept with it have EIA too, and it’s not just an isolated case, it will be a different matter,” she said.

    Olympic event rider Mary King lives in Sidmouth, a 90min drive from the swamp fever case in Highampton.

    She told H&H she has spoken to a couple of vets for advice, and has been told not to worry too much.

    There is no implication for travelling Imperial Cavalier (pictured) to the World Equestrian Games,” she said.

    But other neighbours are very concerned. H&H has spoken with horse owners in both Devon and Northumberland who have criticised Defra heavily for the way it has handled the cases — particularly for not disclosing locations of affected the yards.

    Both the yard in Devon and in Ashington, Northumberland, where a horse was diagnosed with swamp fever last week, have bridleways running past them.

    A spokesman for Defra said: “The local authorities have put in place notices at relevant points leading to the bridleway advising horse owners not to exercise their horses in this area.

    “We do not disclose the precise details of an infected premises, as some owners might be less inclined to report potential disease if they know their details are going to be made public.”

    H&H is in close contact with Defra and will post regular updates to the story — the test results on the two horses kept at Highampton with the EIA case are due back sometime today (Tuesday).

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