With news earlier this week that an outbreak of equine herpes virus – EHV1 – in California had dictated the shutdown of the Desert International Horse Park, Florida event organisers, including those of the Winter Equestrian Festival, have implemented regulations for exhibitors designed to protect the horses competing in the state.
“We are strictly enforcing protocols as advised by the FEI and USEF at our property in order to keep the horses safe that are competing in the Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan Global Dressage Festival,” said Michael Stone in a written statement. “Competitors have all been made aware of the regulations and are happy to abide in order to keep competition ongoing at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.”
According to the USA Equine Disease Communication Center, the EHV-1 virus has an incubation period of between two and 10 days. Severity is described as “variable; mild signs of illness to abortion to severe neurologic disease”. The prognosis it cites as “in most cases, horses recover from EHV-1 or EHV-4 in a few weeks and, once fully rested, can gradually return to work”.
Protocols for horses coming to the Winter Equestrian Festival are laid out on the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s [PBIEC] website in part as follows: “Anyone shipping horses into the PBIEC facility and any new back numbers processed will be required to sign a declaration stating that the horses entering the facility are healthy and have not been in a California competition after 28 January.”
Horses who have competed since the deadline or been exposed to horses competing at California shows after 28 January are subject to further isolation and/or, testing scrutiny as detailed on the PBIEC web site. Organisers also make an appeal to those responsible, to obey the rules.
“As with any situation that involves our horses’ welfare, we are all relying on the honesty of the individuals that are responsible for the horses’ care,” the website states.
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