International jumping events in mainland Europe have been allowed to resume following the recent EHV-1 outbreak.
Sunday April 11th marked the end of an FEI imposed shutdown, after a neurological form of the equine herpes virus was first reported in Spain at the end of February.
As the outbreak took place in Valencia, it forced the cancellation of the nearby CES Spring Tour. Two horses on the show site showed symptoms of the contagious disease, but both tested negative.
A statement from the CES Tour said, “We have been officially informed by the Health Authorities of the Andalusian Government that the results made at the official lab in Algete, have been tested negative and therefore neither of the two mares has had EHV-1 and EHV-4, and we can confirm that at no time in the facilities here at Montenmedio has the virus been detected.”
The FEI cancelled international events in 10 countries on Europe’s mainland; this also included the Sunshine Tour in Cadiz. It was a bitter blow to these much loved, well attended show jumping tours which are frequented each spring by competitors from across the globe.
Because of Covid-19, the work behind the scenes to get these tours up and running was immense, so a further virus, which this time affected horses was incredibly painful in more ways than one.
The Sunshine Tour released a statement showing support for the CES Tour, it read, “The Sunshine Tour in conjunction with the International Jumping Riders Club have wanted to show solidarity with CES Valencia and all of those affected by this pandemic. In order to help they have organized and paid for the shipment of 60 portable stables to the Valencian facilities and the CEU Veterinary Clinic Hospital of Valencia. These measures are intended to facilitate the veterinarians in the treatment of affected horses. From the Sunshine Tour there is a call for responsibility. With the union and effort of all, we hope this pandemic can be controlled as soon as possible and our sector, now even more affected, can return to normal soon.”
The logistics of travelling horses back to their home nations during this time has had to be carefully managed. Not only did they need to depart the showgrounds in a staggard manner, but horses which had just turned up, could not be turned away immediately, as they needed to rest and recover from their journeys.
Many horses had to be quarantined in unfamiliar yards, before being allowed to return home. This isolation period made sure for certain there were no symptoms or fresh cases which could spread the deadly virus further.
The FEI say there’s been 18 equine fatalities relating to EHV-1 in it’s neurological form during this recent outbreak. Eleven in Spain, five in Germany and two in Belgium.
The good news is, following the successful implementation of protocols the disease risk is approaching normal levels. Many countries have introduced the use of a health self-certificate for equine gatherings to help prevent further cases.
More stringent bio-security controls are to be expected where horses are stabled from different nations. This is to keep the disease at baseline level and to prevent an outbreak like this happening again.