Kevin Kemp, general manager of the Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth, Texas, has confirmed to Quarter Horse News that the Appaloosa Horse Club has suspended its World Show competition scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center after a horse on the premises displayed neurological symptoms. The Will Rogers Equestrian Center has also voluntary implemented a quarantine for animals.
“It’s a voluntary quarantine; the state has not come in, or anything like that. … A horse came to the property that was ill, and based on the doctor’s evaluation and examination, we decided to go into a voluntary quarantine,” Kemp said. (Kemp reported that the show veterinarian on call last night, Oct. 24, was Dr. Loni Taylor, DVM.)
“We’ve implemented our quarantine protocols, which involve sanitizing and things like that, at intervals through out the day,” Kemp continued. “They have sent the bloodwork off for testing, and basically we’re waiting the test results. Once the test results get in, they’ll make further decisions as need be.”
Beth Bass, an assistant coach for the Texas A&M University Equestrian Team, has six horses on site at Will Rogers and reported to QHN that the facility has been keeping exhibitors at the show informed through the PA system.
“They made a public announcement last night about 9:30 through all the barns and arenas, just giving a general statement that there was a very ill horse that was exhibiting neurological signs and that Cattle Barn 4 was under quarantine. No horses in or out of Cattle Barn 4,” Bass said. “Then, the whole facility was under quarantine, no horses in or out; however, we were, at that time, free to move about the facility other than Cattle Barn 4.
“As of this morning, they still have Cattle Barn 4 quarantined and the facility is still on lockdown, but they have requested that we stay in our current barns. So if we have arenas in our current barns, we are allowed to ride and such, but they would prefer to limit as much movement as possible.”
Bass said that the Appaloosa Horse Club has announced plans to put together an exhibitors’ meeting sometime today to update attendees on the status of the show.
“They hope to have the test results back by 7 p.m. tonight,” said Bass, who, along with Kemp, said the horse's blood samples were sent to the UC Davis laboratory for testing. “But they said there was a possibility that we may not get the test results back till tomorrow morning.”
Bass said she has been satisfied with the way the Will Rogers Equestrian Center has handled the situation and the precautions the staff has employed.
“They’re going through and disinfecting all the barns, the alleyways. All of the wash racks and all of the equipment have all been disinfected, and they said they are going to continue that every two hours. They already had protocol in place, and they already implemented it,” Bass said. “Initially, they weren’t going to allow any people into Cattle Barn 4, but they have now allowed them in. They’re just using footbaths and disinfectant stations for horse owners to go in and out of Cattle Barn 4. They are watching them come in and out.”
In regards to the ill horse, Bass said, “We have heard from the vets that the horse was previously being treated for EPM. The horse did have 103 fever, but the horse was also stressed. It came in with two other horses. It only arrived on the facility less than 24 hours before it got sick, and they have taken those three horses to another barn on the facility.”
As of this morning, the Appaloosa Horse Club released the following statement on its website (www.appaloosa.com).
“The Appaloosa Horse Club has taken the precaution of temporarily suspending competition scheduled for Wednesday October 26th at the World Championship Appaloosa Show in Fort Worth pending official test results for a horse exhibiting neurological symptoms. With the advice of on-site veterinarians, the Will Rogers Equestrian Center has implemented a voluntary quarantine for animals.
"Additional biosecurity measures have been implemented and exhibitors are cooperating in an effort to mitigate any potential risks of infection. Laboratory results are expected by later in the day on Wednesday.
"ApHC and the Will Rogers staff are in communication with and following all recommendations the Texas Animal Health Commission. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.”
The Appaloosa Horse Club World Show began Oct. 21 and was scheduled to take place through Oct. 29 at Will Rogers Equestrian Center, Fort Worth, Texas. In addition to the competition that was scheduled for Wed., Oct. 26, the World Champion Appaloosa Sale (yearling incentive sale and preferred show horse/breeders sale) was also set to take place at 6 p.m. in the West Sale Arena.