USA Team Withdraws from Compiègne Nations Cup After EHV-1 Testing Returned “Limited Number” Adverse Results

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California’s Anna Buffini and FRH Davinia la Douce and coach Günter Seidel, a three-time Olympian for the U.S. Both riders were on the USA Compiègne Nations Cup team. File photo. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

May 27, 2021

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The USA dressage team of three riders and horses on Thursday withdrew from the CDIO5* Nations Cup in Compiègne, France after Equine Herpes Virus EHV-1 tests returned “a limited number” of adverse results.

Withdrawal of the Dutta Corp. team that was based in Belgium after arriving from the United States for their only scheduled European competition came the same day of the veterinary inspection at Compiègne ahead of the Nations Cup beginning Friday in which 11 teams were entered.

“The decision to withdraw the team and individual U.S. young rider combinations who have been stabled together was made prior to their departure for the competition venue and in consultation with the team veterinarian and FEI Veterinary Director,” the U.S. federation said in a statement.

“In accordance with the FEI Return to Competition protocols, all U.S. horses were tested for EHV-1 prior to departure from their layover base to the competition venue. A limited number of PCR tests returned with adverse results.

“Horses within the U.S. contingent have not shown any symptoms or clinical signs of the virus, are not febrile, and are all vaccinated. Out of an abundance of precaution, the team has decided to withdraw. US Equestrian is working directly with the FEI to determine appropriate next steps and an acceptable timeline for a return to competition based on the outlined protocols.”

The Dutta Corp. team for the Nations Cup comprised:

–Anna Buffini, 26, of San Diego, California and her own FRH Davinia La Douce, 14-year-old Hanoverian mare

–Katie Johnson, 32, of Greenwood Village, Colorado and Quartett, 14-year-old Brandenburg gelding owned by Kylee Lourie

–Günter Seidel, 60, of Cardiff, California and Equirelle, 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Leatherdale Farms.

This was to be the first senior team event for Anna and Katie, though both competed at North American Youth Championships, while Günter competed at three Olympics earning team bronze on each occasion.

Compiègne is the second event in the trans-Atlantic series this year. The U.S. won team gold at the 2021 kickoff event in Wellington, Florida in March.

Decisions have not yet been made on whether to consider entering the American team combinations in another competition in Europe in June.

If US Equestrian decides the team should return home, the horses will have to wait a minimum of seven days before being allowed on a plane.

The U.S. Young Rider squad based at the same layover stable in Belgium is scheduled to compete at youth Nations Cups in Hagen, Germany in two weeks.

Because of concerns over the Covid-19 and EHV-1 and disruption of competition schedules, plans were dropped for U.S. Olympic short listed riders and horses to go to Europe. Instead, short listed horses will compete at an observation event in Wellington, Florida June 8-11.

An outbreak of EHV-1 flared in Spain in February that casued the deaths of at least 12 horses and led to lockdowns of horse shows for a month in 11 European nations.

Most recently, an EHV-1 outbreak ocurred at a CDI4* in Ornago, Italy May 9-11 that resulted in at least 30 horses being blocked from competition until cleared by two tests. Some of the horses blocked are Olympic prospects for different nations.

As a safety measure following Ornago, the FEI added Compiègne 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.