Monday, May 23, 2011

The EHV-1 Virus Affects Arabian Horse Shows..... Information on Resulting Regional Qualifications... and an Opinion....

Even though the Region 5 of the Arabian Horse Associations Board of Directors meeting yesterday was NOT because of the EHV-1 situation, as you can guess this topic took up a large part of the meeting. Horse show season is in full swing so horse shows are being affected by people's reactions to this scare. What to do? seems to be on everyone's minds and that's not just what to do with your horse.

Once the meeting got underway, it was a given we would discuss the virus. The reason for that is the cancellation of two Arabian horse shows. One in region 4 and one in region 5. The HACO show in Oregon was supposed to run this last weekend and the IEAHC concurrent show in Spokane was supposed to be this coming weekend.

Because our system of showing relies on qualifications to show at regional and national events, cancelling qualifying shows affects those upper level shows as well. To deal with these extraordinary circumstances the AHA Board of Directors in teleconference last week voted that all horses entered in cancelled shows would be considered "qualified" for their regional championships.

Specifically that means for a horse to be eligible for this "waiver" it must have been entered in the show as well as entered in the particular classes for which they now want to claim regional qualifications BEFORE the shows were cancelled. This is a one time waiver for regional championships and only fits this particular situation of the affected shows because of the EHV-1.

If the situation continues in a way that could impact any of the national championships, those issues will be addressed at that time. For those not familiar with Arabian horses and their national championship shows, we have four of them, Youth Nationals, Canadian Nationals, Sport Horse Nationals and the US Nationals.

The other question regarding Arabian shows at our meeting was the Region 5 sport horse qualifier and regional championships that is coming up the first part of June. It is too early to know what to decide about the fate of that show since the appropriate incubation period of the virus for horses that might have been exposed by the return of affected horses from Utah has not passed yet. We were told at the meeting, the decision about that show would not be made until the 30th of this month based on that incubation period.

While that will be very short notice with the show dates June 2-5, it is the only way an informed decision can be made. No one wants to cancel the show if it is not necessary nor do they want to run a show when it is not safe. I would assume IF there are no new cases of the virus diagnosed by the end of that time frame, the show will be run. And, of course, if there are new cases everyone will be scurrying to figure out what to do next.

I think it's important to say this topic of conversation began before the meeting ever got started. The rumor mill is running rampant and in the process it is doing some real damage. People who don't know what they are talking about are causing serious issues for innocent people by spreading stories that affect the livelihoods of others. Think before you speak.

As an example of this problem, there was a trainer at the meeting that has been affected by the rumor mill. The internet says this trainer's husband was showing at the Utah show and that they have an affected horse in their barn. The husband (nor the trainer at our meeting) does not train cutters, he trains reining horses and he was no where near the Utah show or any horses who attended that show.

I can only imagine what the rumor mill is saying based on the amount of upset I could see on this trainer's face but whatever it is, it is causing a problem for these people AND it is absolutely wrong. These two people make their livings and support their family based on their training business and they have become fodder of the rumor mill due to no fault of their own. Not good.

I would venture to guess that rumors of this type will cause as much, if not more damage, than the actual virus will. I do not understand people who are willing to believe whatever they read or are told on the internet or any other source that feeds the rumor mill and, even worse, to pass it along AND even add to it. Do people not understand when they feed this rumor monster, they damage the entire industry?

The horse industry has taken enough hits with the poor economy and now this virus. It sure doesn't need the help of those who have nothing better to do but to spread stories to do it further damage. People need to get smart and be responsible so the industry doesn't take anymore hits.


  1. As far as the rumor mill hurting innocent people. Well, never let the truth get in the way of a good story seems to be the motto of some people.

  2. This is why I haven't posted any more on it. I read that state borders were closing down and then published that before I realized it came from New Zealand and wasn't exactly true. I don't want to spread misinformation, but on the flip side I do want people to know that farriers should be disinfecting their stuff (no matter whether there is an outbreak or not).
    I am interested to see how this affects showing in general. I know a bunch of folks, myself included who have just decided not to show at all this summer. Given the economy and everything else, it's not worth it (to us lil schooling show folks anyway). However, I see the rodeo crowd is still going strong. I wonder if the horse industry will recover from this whole fiasco.
    I'm sorry for your friend and internet rumors. It seems like once it's out there, the damage is done.

  3. Wow, scary stuff all around. I imagine the trainer guy will take some hard hits before it's all over. Too bad people don't verify facts before they run out and tell 200 people what they just heard from their favorite [completely unreliable] source. *sigh* It would save so much trouble, wouldn't it?

  4. It starts with one person, and that's bad enough. Most of the time, their fears or dissatisfaction (whatever) could be assuaged by simply asking questions directly of the people involved. Instead, they choose to gossip either the old fashioned way or by taking their cause to the internet. Once the latter happens, you end up with a bunch of hanger-on who stir the pot until you have a whole bunch of people whipped into a frenzy. My dear friends and mentors recently were victims of this. It had nothing to do with EHV-1, but it doesn't matter. The results are the same: misinformation is spread, ultimately by a bunch of people unconcerned with the truth.

  5. Everyone's talking about it, that's for sure. It doesn't affect me much because I just ride the trails. Some of my friends though, are nervous enough not to ride the trails for now--at least not with other horses. I assume they're worried our horses may have come in contact with a horse who may have come in contact with....and on and on. It does seem like part of it is just wanting to do a lot of, guess what I heard!?!

  6. Not sure who the trainer there was, but a vet here was subject to the rumormongers.

    Emails stating the vet Dr. Anderson claimed 30 deaths....
    another email-State vet denies Vet Anderson exists...
    WTH people?

    Still another email from yahoo message board-

    Chaparral Vet Medical Center Information Meeting Wed, May 18, 2011

    -Dr. Anderson spoke & 3 horses in Mayer are being watched; 1 has died

    - 21 horses came back from the cutting show in Ogden to Arizona and are being monitored

    - 1 horse has been euthanized because of neurological damage

    AQHA Prof Horseman Al Dunnings encounter with the disease.

    (edited for blogger character limits)

    Scottsdale trainer Al Dunning had 11 horses at the event. Three of them showed signs upon their return home. They were isolated and are being treated. While at the Ogden show one of the infected horses was also taken to a roping event...

    "My horses came back from Ogden on Sunday, (May 8), and Monday, so it was about five days before we had any outbreak," he says. "A few days later, I believe it was Thursday, I heard that Mike Wood, who used to work for me, took a horse to Bakersfield, California, and that horse died over there."

    ***Anyone who would like me to forward the entire artcles on to them- email me.***

  7. More from the article about Al Dunning-

    But the virus won't be an issue for just the cutting-horse industry, Al predicts.

    "Don't show, don't go. My advice is to stay on lockdown everywhere. Just to be cautious, you never know," he says.

    "In Ogden, I roped at a roping up there. They had lots of rope horses there and horses tied all over the place, and I had my horse there that was at the (cutting) horse show. I roped on him and did real well at the roping. Well, that's one of the horses that did get sick. That's outside the cutting barn...."