WEF Cancels 2 Classes, Locks Down FEI Stabling on Possible New EHV-1 Case

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Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 27–Two international Welcome Stake classes were canceled Wednesday and FEI stabling at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center were locked down–no horses allowed in or out–as a precaution over a possible new case of EHV-1, the equine herpes virus.

A horse stabled at a farm adjoining PBIEC was tested for EHV-1 and found negative for the nasal PCR swab but positive to the blood test, Equestrian Sport Productions, organizers of the Wellington horse shows, reported Wednesday.

The report led to ESP canceling two $5,000 Welcome Stakes Wednesday and locking down FEI stabling until the results of testing on two horses from the same farm are available Thursday afternoon. The two horses had been moved into PBIEC’s FEI stabling, but sent back to the farm as soon as results of tests on the other horse were available.

PBIEC’s FEI Stabling was closed with no horses arriving or leaving until tests on the two horses come back Thursday afternoon, ESP said.

The Palm Beach Dressage Derby, one of the largest dressage competitions in Florida and celebrating its 30th anniversary that is scheduled for this week in neighboring Loxahatchee, has banned horses from Ocala and imposed strict biosecurity measures.

The latest case comes the same week as an historic series of Nations Cups–from children’s, junior, young rider and elite senior levels–as well as equine auctions that have brought horses from around the world to the Winter Equestrian Festival, the world largest horse show.

The current EHV-1 issue arose when a horse proved positive at the HITS winter circuit show grounds in Ocala, 240 miles (386km) north of Wellington. Some horses compete at both show grounds.

Biosecurity protocols enacted at PBIEC a week ago will remain until further notice, ESP said.