Wellington Horses Test Negative for EHV, FEI Stabling Cleared for WEF Nations Cups to Go On

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Global Dressage Festival grounds in Wellington, Florida where horse auction was held during EHV-1 scare. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 28–Two horses that had been at the Winter Equestrian Festival tested negative of the EHV-1, equine herpes virus, Thursday, clearing the way for lifting of quarantine on international stabling at the world’s largest horse show and for the CSIO with its four Nations Cups to go ahead on schedule.

A handful of horses, including Divertimento ridden by Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén on the recommendation of her Swedish federation, scratched from the Palm Beach Dressage Derby in Loxahatchee, the rural community adjacent to Wellington and where four jumper horses tested positive for EHV-1. Organizers of the dressage competition banned horses from Ocala from participating as a precaution.

No dressage horses in Florida have been reported suffering any symptoms of EHV-1.

No additional suspected or confirmed cases of the neurological form of the disease have occurred since the original single horse at Ocala, 240 miles (386km) miles north of Wellington and the venue for hundreds of jumpers and hunters competing on the warm weather winter circuits.

Detailed and timely reporting of developments by the show organizers in Wellington has won widespread kudos in limiting the spread of unfounded rumors–most erroneous reports spread by social media.

Red Barn in Loxahatchee and other feed stores that deliver hay, grain and other supplies to farms throughout Palm Beach implemented biosecurity measures such as sanitizing tires on trucks and footwear of employees after every farm stop as soon as the first EHV-1 case was reported.

A total of seven jumper horses in Florida have tested positive for a non-neurological strain of the virus, all but one linked to the Horse Shows in the Sun HITS show grounds in Ocala. The entire HITS Post Time grounds have been placed under quarantine.

Equestrian Sport Productions, organizers of WEF, reported that two horses that had been in contact with a horse with EHV-1 at a private farm then traveled to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center FEI stabling were tested and found negative. The two horses were removed from the stabling immediately the case was discovered Wednesday.

As a result of the negative tests that were finalized Thursday, the Florida Department of Agriculture lifted quarantine restrictions.

“Competition will continue as scheduled for the CSIO classes,” a WEF spokesperson said. “All other competition for the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has been running as scheduled.”

The $43,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 was held Thursday ahead of the Nations Cup to be held Friday night.

The WEF Sport Horse Auction featuring horses from VDL Stud was scheduled to go ahead Thursday night at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival show grounds, a part of the PBIEC complex.

An Incident Command Team of state and federal personnel is being mobilized to implement appropriate control measures.

Of the horses testing positive for EHV-1, four are at Miles Away Farm in Loxahatchee and one is at Redfield Farm in Ocala.

One horse not believed to be linked with any of the HITS-associated quarantined premises has also been positive for EHV-1. This horse is located at Tequestrian Farm in Wellington.

“While the additional positive horses were detected after leaving the HITS Showgrounds, they resided in Tent 3 and Tent 6 in proximity to Tent 7 which housed the index case,” the Florida Department of Agriculture said referring in to the horse that was first detected with the virus on Feb. 20.

The horse that first tested positive for EHV-1, wild-type strain, was reported in stable condition at the University of Florida.

The Division of Animal Industry said it is continuing its disease investigation and developing protocols for surveillance and quarantine release measures.

Quarantined Farms/Premises:
–Entire HITS Showgrounds, Ocala;
–Up Country Farm/Synergy Farm, Ocala;
–Montera Farm, Ocala;
–Flutterby Farm, Ocala;
–Foxwood Farms, Pinellas Park;
–Black Forest Farm, St. Augustine;
–Littlewood Farm, Wellington;
–Brookmore Farm, Oviedo, and
–Kings Ridge Farm, Reddick.

New Quarantined Premises:
–Tequestrian Farm, Wellington;
–Miles Away Farm, Loxahatchee, and
–Redfield Farm, Ocala.

Recommendations for horses that have shown at HITS since February 5, 2013 include close monitoring of animals, reporting of fevers greater than 101.5 and strict bio-security measures for at least 21 days after departure from HITS.

Additional movement requirements or restrictions have not been imposed by Florida or any other states at this time.