Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, CA has canceled Weeks V to VIII of the 2022 Desert Circuit and Desert Dressage IV due to the ongoing equine herpesvirus outbreak.
EHV-1 is a virus that is endemic in the equine population and a relatively common cause of mild respiratory disease, typically characterized by fever and nasal discharge. In some cases, horses with EHV-1 may develop neurological symptoms or Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a potentially life threatening disease.
Since Week IV of the Desert Circuit, the Horse Park has been fighting to contain an outbreak of EHV-1, including three cases of EHM (EHV-1 infection with neurological signs); one of which had to be euthanized. Despite immediate isolation and quarantine efforts, extensive daily testing, and constant communication of status updates and biosecurity best practices, new cases continue to be detected at the Horse Park.
As a result, management has canceled the remaining weeks of its winter competition calendar.
Said president and CEO Steve Hankin in a press release:
“We are disappointed to announce the decision to cancel the remaining competitions for this season (Desert Circuit Weeks V to VIII and Desert Dressage IV) at Desert International Horse Park. We love horses and horse shows. But for now, our focus has to be on the care and safety of the horses here under isolation and quarantine and for those horses needing a home during this infection. The horse park will remain open for all of these horses, especially those unable to find an appropriate place for further quarantine or where transport creates additional risk, until we are through this infection. We will take every precaution to continue to protect the horses here until we close for the season.
“We’ll be back in the fall for the 2022/2023 season and look forward to welcoming everyone back.”
Testing of active, suspect and new cases remains ongoing at the Horse Park. Up to date results can be found at California Department of Food and Agriculture website.