Popular horse trials cancelled after strangles case

Richmond Equestrian Centre in North Yorkshire has cancelled all upcoming events, including its British Eventing fixture, after a case of strangles on its livery yard.

Richmond Horse Trials (2) was due to take place on 30 August to 1 September.

Co-owner Abigail Turner told H&H they were devastated to announce the cancellation of the BE event, but emphasised that “horse welfare comes first”.

“The vet came out to a livery’s horse on Tuesday (13 August) which had a slightly snotty nose and temperature. Because we had the BE event coming up and especially with the current equine flu situation, we had the horse tested for flu and strangles as an extra precaution. Never in a million years did we expect it would test positive for strangles,” she said.

“The horse was moved into quarantine immediately and was treated with antibiotics. It is no longer showing signs but we will be doing more blood tests and a guttural pouch wash to make sure the antibiotics have treated the infection.”

Abigail said no other horses at the centre have shown signs but all will be blood tested.

“We are very tight on biosecurity so we don’t know how strangles got on to the yard – we’re at a loss. Our vet has said we’ll never know, it could have been carried in by a horse that’s picked it up somewhere or a person,” she said.

“The bottom line is its bad luck. Everybody in the equine community needs to be tight on biosecurity. We have done our very best to keep it contained and are on full lockdown.”

Abigail said the centre was expecting record numbers for the BE event.

“We were very low on numbers and we lost money at our May event. We have thrown everything into the September event – we’ve spent thousands on the cross-country course, the ground is in amazing condition, we have 50 sponsors.

“We were so upset because we had a low entry before the ballot date and put a plea out to say if you’re going to enter to let us know and we were overwhelmed by the numbers received. Yesterday when we cancelled we had 818 entries, and 50 on the waiting list, but obviously horse welfare comes first,” she said.

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The centre is expected to be on lockdown until 3 September.

“We’re working with our vets and other local vets. We obviously won’t be doing anything until we get the green light, but when we do we plan to run some one-day events and show cross. We might look at doing some intermediate and novice cross-country schooling over the jumps that never got used,” said Abigail.

“We’ve had massive support from people – it’s been quite overwhelming. Everyone is behind us ready for the next event.”

All BE entries will be refunded in full and the BE100 regional final will be relocated to Alnwick Ford International on 28 to 29 September.

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