Over 30 Dressage Horses from 7 Nations at Ornago CDI Blocked from Competing Until Cleared by EHV-1 Tests

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May 25, 2021

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The FEI–International Equestrian Federation–confirmed Tuesday it is looking into the “full circumstances” of Equine Herpes Virus EHV-1 outbreak of about 34 horses, including Olympic team prospects, at the CDI4* and other international divisions in Ornago, Italy May 6-9.

All horses must be quarantined and blocked from competition until two tests taken seven days and 14 days after May 9 both show negative results. The FEI database shows the first horse to be “suspended” meaning blocked was May 7, before the actual start of competition. Most of the rest were blocked as of May 9. All remained blocked as of Tuesday.

The horses that have been identified by dressage-news.com came from at least seven different nations and were spread throughout Big Tour, Small Tour, Under-25, Junior, Young Rider, Young Horse and Pony divisions at Ornago.

Some riders were campaigning their horses for a place on their teams for the Olympics starting in Tokyo in less than two months.

Blocked horses were unable to compete at the Nations Cup at Compiègne, France this week that has become an important qualifier.

“As part of its overall surveillance of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in mainland Europe, the FEI is currently looking into the full circumstances of the EHV-1 positives in horses that participated at the CDI in Ornago (ITA) and is following up with the relevant persons,” an FEI spokesperson responded to dressage-news.com.

The show reportedly did not require proof of negative tests for the horses, but only a signed declaration by the rider that the horse had no contact with sick horses before the event.

Some riders contacted by dressage-news.com reported their horses had been tested and no interruption to their training schedules was expected if the results were negative.

A neurological form of equine herpes virus was reported at a jumping competition in Spain in February and led to the deaths of at least 12 horses and month-long lockdowns in 12 European nations.

The outbreak that impacted Ornago first came to light May 7 when three horses from a stable in Switzerland tested positive for EHV-1 but were already at the Italian show grounds. Other horses stabled in the same barn as the positive horse, the FEI reported, were tested and none showed any clinical signs at the time. Voluntary testing was provided in which more than 50 horses participated.

Twenty-four horses, two of which were positive, that participated in Ornago were blocked early last week.

Later in the week, another horse that had been stabled in a separate barn tested positive for EHV-1 after returning home and the FEI blocked seven more horses.

The Internet site for Scuderie Malaspine that organized the Ornago event is no longer accessible.

As a safety measure, the FEI said, the dressage Nations Cup at Compiègne, France this week has been added to the list of events requiring mandatory testing prior to arrival. Negative results of the so-called PCR test have to be provided to organizers before being permitted entry to the showgrounds.

Eleven teams are entered in the Nations Cup, with another 41 combinations from 14 countries in the CDI3* lineup, less than two months to go to the opening of the Olympics in Tokyo.