Neurologic EHV Confirmed in Texas Barrel Racing Horse

Denton County

Texas officials confirm a horse in Denton County is positive for the neurologic strain of the equine herpes virus (EHV-1). The barrel racing horse traveled to area events prior to its diagnosis.

The Texas Animal Health Commission states the barrel racing horse showed signs of ataxia, loss of muscle coordination, and other neurologic issues consistent with equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM).

The horse’s premises is quarantined.

The horse attended barrel racing events in two cities prior to its diagnosis on February 21.  It went to a barrel race at the NRS Arena in Decatur on February 15 and was at the Northside Arena in Fort Worth on February 14.

State officials contacted event management and veterinarians so participants can be notified. The events are supposed to step-up biosecurity measures at the facilities.

Veterinarians recommend isolating exposed horses as well as taking their temperatures twice daily.

Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of a neurologic EHV-1 infection include a fever of over 102 degrees, weakness, incoordination, urine dribbling or the inability to urinate.

A veterinarian should immediately examine horses with these symptoms.


Horses Stranded by San Jose Flooding

 28 Horses in Contaminated Flood Waters

Dozens of horses remain stranded in contaminated flood water at a San Jose, CA boarding stable Wednesday.

Horse owners are trying to help 28 horses at Cooksy Family Stables (formerly Hibbetts Farm) standing in the murky brown waters. The plan to feed and water the horses for the first time since Monday was mostly unsuccessful again early Wednesday.

Jenny Mosher is coordinating the rescue. She says only a handful of horses were fed because the boat got snagged in the swift current. Later attempts, to drop horse owners off to feed horses are proving successful. All of the horses have been fed. By 6 p.m., the owners were able to move the horses to areas of the property with less standing water.

Area officials ordered mandatory evacuations after the Coyote Creek Levee break Tuesday. Mosher tells us the flash flooding came fast that morning.

28 Horses Trapped at boarding stable due to San Jose Flooding
Horses trapped at Cooksy Family Stables due to flood waters

“Lots of tears have been shed by all of us for them [horse owners], with them, and for their horses,” Mosher adds.

A washed out entrance, rapidly flowing current, and debris continue to impede rescue efforts to save the horses, but flood waters are receding. Those involved are reportedly waiting until the water level goes down more before they attempt to move the horses. They have concerns about barb wire on the property and shifting equipment under the water.

People can tell us what to do all day long, but until they do any of this they have no idea how hard we’ve been working and how difficult the conditions are,” Mosher says. “It’s bad there. Really bad.”

Emergency responders warn of the contaminated floodwater. They say it stems from gasoline, sewage, oil, and chemicals.

Long-term exposure to flood water wreaks havoc on a horse’s body. Louisiana veterinarian Brennan Fitzgerald Lee compares the skin injuries to those of a “burn victim”.

We left a message for Cooksy Family Stables manager Kama Cooksy. She did not return our call prior to publishing.


USEF Considers Depo-Provera Rule Change

Depo-Provera Workshop

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is considering a rule change surrounding Depo-Provera in show horses.

The federation announced a workshop regarding the hormone’s use for horses competing. The event is scheduled for March 13 from 1 pm to 5 pm EST at the Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside Hotel in Orlando, FL. It is being live-streamed.

USEF states the purpose of the meeting is to address concerns regarding the efficacy, safety, and use of medroxyprogesterone acetate in show horses. USEF is reviewing the science and practices surrounding Depo-Provera.

Some horse show competitors may use Depro-Provera as a method of estrus suppression in mares when recommended by their veterinarian. Others may use the hormone to help minimize edgy behavior in stallions and geldings.

The following presenters have accepted an invitation by USEF to participate:

  • Dr. Stephen Schumacher, DVM, Chief Administrator, USEF Drugs and Medications Program
  • Dr. Patrick McCue, DVM, Ph.D., Director, Equine Reproduction Laboratory, Colorado State University
  • Dr. Jim Heird, Ph.D., Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair, Executive Professor, and Coordinator Equine Initiative, Texas A&M University
  • Mary Babick, President, USHJA

There are two ways to participate: join the moderated, public workshop where the panel will hear presentations from members before the panel reports to the Board. Secondly, members can send comments via email to for up to a week after the meeting.

For more information, click here.


BREAKING: Florida Drops Darren Chiacchia Felony Case


update February 18, 2017

The Florida State Attorney’s office dropped a felony charge against an Olympic three-day eventer. The move comes 7-years after Darren Chiacchia’s arrest in Marion County.

“It’s finally over,” Chiacchia of Independence Farms tells us.

Assistant State Attorney Timothy McCourt filed a nolle prosequi this week. The state won’t proceed with Chiacchia’s prosecution for unlawful acts prior to sex. He was accused of not telling his sexual partner about his HIV status.

In a phone conversation, McCourt tells us, “part of our job is to look for the truth. New evidence was discovered, but we couldn’t have known without going through the process.”

McCourt adds his office has a duty to the state and to the defendant. “Going forward would have been unethical.”

Moving upward

Chiacchia, of Ocala, says he feels almost vindicated. “This is the state deciding they don’t have enough to go forward.”

The criminal case has been riddled with delays including an appeal, a dismissal, and reinstatement. The parties agreed in early 2015 to wait for the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court, in a similar case, prior to scheduling Chiacchia’s case for jury trial.

Two years after oral arguments, the state’s highest court still hasn’t ruled. “It is this full and thorough review of all evidence in this case that has led to the conclusion that reasonable doubt exists as to the Defendant’s guilt…,” McCourt states in the latest filing.

The perfect storm of what Chiacchia calls false allegations after a bad break-up were complicated by lingering effects from a traumatic brain injury. Chiacchia survived a March 2008 cross-country riding accident after his horse fell on him.

“I don’t want it to be poor me. I am a better person for it,” he adds. “I’m moving upward.”

The equestrian says, “crisis equals opportunity.” It is a phrase he says he got from Michael Lee Chin, although, with a small alteration – Chiacchia takes out the danger.

As Chiacchia moves forward he is rebuilding his life and career. The prospects look bright including a horse named Ballzauber, owned by the Ballzauber Syndicate. The bronze Olympic medalist says the horse should debut in Grand Prix dressage this spring.

“I have a career I’m very proud of,” Chiacchia says. “This is the best possible result.”


Neurologic EHV-1 Confirmed in Horse Recently at HITS Thermal

HITS Coachella Desert Circuit

update February 16, 2017

After the confirmation of a horse with the neurologic strain of EHV-1 was previously stabled at HITS Thermal, state officials say EHV-1 is circulating in other horses from the same show tent.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) states the horses were stabled in Tent 21. The state’s regulatory authority to issue quarantines is only for EHV-1 confirmed cases with neurologic signs. It is also known as equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM).

CDFA recommends exhibitors at HITS Coachella Desert Circuit in Thermal follow enhanced biosecurity protocols.

California officials confirm a horse recently showing at the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit in Thermal is positive for the neurologic strain of the equine herpes virus (EHV-1).

The 10-year-old Warmblood from San Diego County began displaying neurologic signs two days after leaving the show grounds on February 7. The horse’s symptoms included urine dribbling and hind limb ataxia.

The gelding was stabled in tent number 21 at the HITS showgrounds from January 21 until February 5.

The state adds based on the horse’s clinical signs and positive lab test, the horse meets the case definition for equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM). EHM is most often due to the neuropathologic strain of EHV–1.

The state quarantined the EHM positive horse and another exposed horse at their home stable in San Diego County.

Symptoms that should alert horse owners to the possibility of EHV include fever, weakness, in-coordination, and urine dribbling or the inability to urinate.

EHV is highly contagious. Veterinarians recommend limiting horse to horse contact, limiting horse to human contact, and avoiding communal water sources at public horse facilities. They also state you shouldn’t share equipment unless it is disinfected between uses.

HITS requires proof of EHV-1 and EHV-4 vaccinations within 6 months of each show. Current vaccines are not labeled to prevent EHM.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) contacted HITS show management to ensure enhanced biosecurity measure are in place. These include cleaning and disinfecting the stables.

Stay with Rate My Horse PRO as we continue following this developing story.


Arizona Equine Massage Therapist Wins Suit against Veterinary Board

Equine Massage Win

Equine massage therapists in Arizona can now give their four-legged customers a massage without having to obtain a veterinary license.

The change comes after lawyers for three animal massage practitioners won a consent judgment in Maricopa County. The Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board agreed to stop enforcing the state’s veterinary licensing laws against animal massage practitioners. The change includes not making animal massage practitioners work under a veterinarian.

The Institute for Justice filed suit in 2014. Plaintiffs, including equine massage practitioners Celeste Kelly and Grace Granatelli, received cease and desist orders from the board for giving animal massages without a veterinary license. With it came the threat of criminal prosecution.

Each spent hundreds of hours learning techniques and obtaining the necessary certification.

“I’m overjoyed – not just for myself but for every animal massage practitioner in Arizona—that the case is resolved and we are now free to massage animals,” said Kelly. “All I want is the freedom to do my job, and I have that now.”

An animal massage practitioner provides external manipulation or pressure of soft tissues by use of the hands or body.



Dimitt Enters Blind Plea in Horse Mutilation Case

Dimitt Horse Torture

A hoof-carving Oklahoma racehorse trainer entered a no contest plea Monday to five counts of felony animal cruelty.

Robert Dimitt accepted the conditions of a blind plea agreement and faces up to 25-years in prison. Dimmit mutilated the feet of multiple AQHA racehorses leading to their deaths.

The prosecution did not offer Dimitt, of Sallisaw, a deal to change his plea from not guilty to no contest. Dimitt’s fate rests with District Judge Jeff Payton, who has requested a pre-sentencing investigation.

Sequoyah County deputies arrested Dimitt in August 2015 after Charlotte Northam, of Ada, alerted authorities regarding dead horses on Dimitt’s property. Witnesses state Dimitt was cutting the frogs out of the horses’ hooves to “make them run faster”.

Northam said, “we wanted so much for this to go to trial…”

Court documents show Dimitt used Ty Blackwell and Tana Pace as trainers of record when racing his customers’ horses. Dimitt is unable to hold a Racing Commission License in Oklahoma or New Mexico due to his doping suspensions.

The AQHA suspended Dimitt from the association shortly after his arrest.

Dimitt remains out on $25,000 bond. Judge Payton reaffirmed that Dimitt is not to have any contact with horses. If in violation, he faces arrest.

Dimitt faces up to 25-years behind bars. He cannot appeal his sentence due to the blind plea.

Dimitt is scheduled for sentencing on March 23.


View Case


If you see Robert Dimitt working on horses at his farm, a track or tribal racing property, authorities ask that you report it to the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Department at (918) 775-9155.

USDA Removes Animal Welfare Info, Soring Violations from Site

USDA Transparency


Kentucky Self-Professed Horse Rescuer Faces 97 Charges

21 Dead Horses

A Kentucky woman that claims to rescue horses is facing 97 criminal charges including animal cruelty. Authorities say they found 21 dead horses on a Bedford property owned by Marlena Robinson, 33.

Marlena Robinson is a self-Professed Horse Rescuer despite 21 Horses Dead in Kentucky
Marlena Robinson

The Trimble County Sheriff’s office arrested Robinson late Thursday night. Prosecutors charged her with 54 counts of animal cruelty and 43 counts of improper disposal of a dead animal.

A search warrant allowed authorities to explore the property earlier this week after three horse carcasses were readily visible. They found the property seemingly abandoned after being there for a probation check.

Authorities discovered 21 dead horses, which was apparently the beginning. They also found dead alpacas, goats, cats, and rabbits.

Robinson’s Facebook page said she operated Robinson Equine. The profile has since been removed.

Thirteen horses were alive roaming the property. Ellie Troutman from Windy Meadows Farm in La Grange picked up the survivors. She will work to bring the horses back to health at her farm.

Officials say additional charges could be coming. Robinson bonded out of jail Friday. She is expected to go before a judge on February 14.

Case Update

Sussman Keeps 20 Gila Horses, 520 Horses Rescued

ISPMB’s Herd Allowed up to 40 Horses

South Dakota officials reached a settlement with the operator of the purported charity International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB). The disposition allows Karen Sussman to keep 20 horses from the Gila River herd.

Ownership of the remaining 520 horses has been transferred from the plagued non-profit in Lantry to Fleet of Angels. The Colorado non-profit is finding the horses new homes.

Elaine Nash, Fleet of Angels executive director adds in a statement that the horses’ health varies. “While some are in good condition, many are underweight. Some also suffer from blindness or vision impairment.”

Fleet of Angels has permission to keep the horses at ISPMB for up to 60 days, although the group may work to find a more suitable adoption location. There are stipulations to utilize the property, including no photo taking while on ISPMB property.

State veterinarian Marc Hammrich, DVM garnered his opinion regarding the supposed mustang sanctuary last October stating, “animal neglect is present at this facility”. The court ordered ISPMB’s 810 horses impounded by sheriff deputies. Since the impoundment, Fleet of Angels and volunteers facilitated the adoption of 270 horses.

Sussman will choose 20 horses from the Gila River herd. The ISPMB had to pay $10,000 to the Dewey County Treasurer to retain ownership. The impoundment is modified to allow ISPMB to handle the care, custody, and control of the horses.

For the next 18 months, ISPMB must provide the horses with proper veterinary and farrier care. Additionally, Sussman agreed to follow a veterinarian’s recommendations after quarterly inspections.

ISPMB cannot allow the horse population to grow over 40 horses for the next 5-years in Dewy or Ziebach Counties.

Dewey and Ziebach County States Attorney Steve Aberle and Cheryl Laurenz-Bogue put the deal together. Fourth Circuit Court Judge Randall L. Macy approved the settlement between officials and ISPMB’s attorneys on January 30, 2017.


View Case

Justin Nelzen Death Ruled Suicide

Silent Crisis

A Montgomery County, TX pathologist ruled Justin Nelzen, the 40-year-old owner of EquiPro, committed suicide by hanging. He died at his residence on Wednesday, January 11.

Nelzen worked as a farrier and horse trainer. He courageously saved more than 25 horses from drowning during Houston’s severe flooding in April 2016.

Justin Nelzen Death Ruled Suicide: Pathologist
Justin Nelzen

Extreme sports, including endurance racing, fueled Nelzen. He won the 2010 Mongol Derby in Mongolia. It is the world’s longest endurance race. In addition to being a certified SCUBA instructor, he also earned a second-degree black belt in karate.

Nelzen is survived by his two children, ages 14 and 13, his parents, a sister, grandparents, stepfather and extended family.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Nelzen served in Afghanistan, according to his mother.

Veterans Affairs reports veterans have a 21% greater chance of committing suicide than civilians.

Fellow military veteran Nikkie Reinert tells us Nelzen listened when others needed support. “All the while he’s saying this with that infectious smile on his face that you’d never imagine [he] was hiding so much pain.”

The two met as a part of an online support group. They lived 30-miles apart allowing them to lean on each other during their tribulations.

Veterans who experience trauma in war may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicidal thoughts. Warning signs can include appearing sad, anxiety, agitation, dramatic mood changes, feelings of guilt and reckless behavior.

“I think it could’ve been a combination of guilt, PTSD, and alcohol setting it off,” Reinert adds regarding Nelzen’s suicide.

A crisis line for veterans provides confidential assistance 24 hours a day for veterans and their families. Online chat resources and texting are also available to make communicating easy.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers help to anyone in distress at 1-800-273-8255.

Reinert, says, “sometimes one person willing to listen is all it takes to bring someone back from the ledge.”


UPDATE: EHV-1 Cases Identified at Turfway Park, Keeneland

Kentucky, Louisiana EHV-1

Kentucky investigators identified two additional horses positive for the equine herpes virus at Turfway Park in Florence.

Nasal swabs detected the “wild strain” of the virus in two Thoroughbreds. The 4-year-old gelding and 9-year-old mare have the same trainer.

Officials say there have been no other clinical developments in the other horses stabled in Barn 27. They are considering options for removing the two horses while the others are managed.

Whole blood samples were submitted from two quarantined barns at Keeneland. Tests identified one EHV-1 positive horse. The 3-year-old Thoroughbred colt is in isolation.

Veterinarians collected nasal swab tests from the remaining horses currently confined.

Louisiana officials retested all horses isolated at the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans with blood and nasal swabs for EHV-1. Out of 37 horses, five horses continue to test positive for the non-neuropathogenic type of EHV. The results are based on the nasal swab test results.

Five horses completed quarantine and have been released.

Scheduled retesting continues on isolated horses until the release requirements are fulfilled. No new symptomatic horses have been reported, but Louisiana authorities say biosecurity remains in force.


EHV-1 Leads to Quarantine at Turfway Park

January 23, 2017

Kentucky’s state veterinarian quarantined a barn on the backside of Turfway Park Saturday after a horse that left the property tested positive for the equine herpes virus (EHV-1).

A 3-year-old Thoroughbred filly was stabled at the Turfway barn from late October until January 19. A nasal swab was collected when the filly was moved to a private facility for breeding on Thursday. The test confirmed the horse is positive for the wild strain. The facility has isolated the filly.

Officials identified horses in two Keeneland barns that may have also been exposed due to horse movement from Turfway. Both barns are quarantined and veterinarians have pulled additional samples.

We will bring you the latest from Kentucky as more information becomes available.


Two Private Kentucky Facilities Quarantined

January 14, 2017

Kentucky officials quarantine a second Oldham County stable due to the equine herpes virus (EHV-1).

Veterinarians tested a horse for the virus after it developed a fever without neurologic signs on January 9. Tests confirm the horse is positive for the wild strain. Officials isolated the horse.

They collected samples from the horses residing in the same barn with the index horse at the private stable. Tests confirmed five additional horses have EHV-1.

Horses are exposed to the EHV-1 virus at a young age. Once exposed, equine herpes has the ability to lay dormant as a latent infection. The virus resides within the horse and can become an active viral infection anytime, especially if the horse is stressed.

The incubation period for EHV-1 may be as short as a day up to 10 days. A horse can shed the virus for seven to 10 days. Shedding has been documented for up to 28 days after clinical signs have been recognized, according to experts.

The state veterinarian’s office states four horses have tested positive at the original Oldham County premises. Those horses are suffering from the mutated strain of EHV-1, which causes neurologic symptoms.

An outbreak of EHV-1 continues at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, LA. The count stands at 39 confirmed cases. Testing of pony horses begins Monday.


Soring Rule to Eliminate Big Lick Suspended by Memorandum

Animal Cruelty Ban?

President Donald J. Trump has suspended the rule to end the abusive practice of soring horses. After the inauguration, his administration froze all pending regulations until his staff can review them.

The order means the soring rule won’t be published in The Federal Register on January 24 as anticipated.

Proponents of the soring ban have been fighting to end the horrific practice although it has been illegal for 40-years. The changes to the Horse Protection Act were supposed to prohibit stacks, chains, and other cruel devices from the Tennessee Walking Horse industry. It was also going to stop what critics call a corrupt inspection process.

Some in the walking and racking horse arenas apply caustic substances or devices to the horse’s hooves and legs to make each step painful. The pain forces an exaggerated high-stepping gait called the “Big Lick”. When the horse’s hoof hits the ground the pain radiates causing the horse to lift its legs quicker and higher.

Opponents of the ban say more walking horses would end up at auction or horse slaughter because their show careers would be over.

President Trump tapped former Georgia Governor ‘Sonny’ Perdue (R-GA) as nominee for Secretary of Agriculture. During his time as Governor, Perdue made dogfighting a felony and outlawed the use of gas chambers by animal shelters. If he is confirmed, the veterinarian may decide what happens to the soring ban.

The order suspending regulations is not unique to President Trump. The Obama Administration did the same thing in 2009.



Kentucky Horse Park Withdraws from 2022 WEG Consideration

Slovakia Only Candidate

The Kentucky Horse Park Commission voted Friday to withdraw from consideration to host the 2022 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG).

The park’s commission expressed concern regarding the staging of the games. Most notably the commission is worried about the potential conflict hosting WEG would create with the Kentucky Horse Park’s goals, specifically, revenue opportunities.

“We do not think it would be economically feasible for the park to host…,” Tandy Patrick, chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission said in a press release.

A recent survey of the park’s assets found $12 million in deferred maintenance expenses, according to Don Parkinson, secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. Park staff recognizes the need for immediate and near-term investments in the facilities, Parkinson added.

Samorin, Slovakia is the only remaining candidate heading into the bidding process for 2022 WEG.


Illinois: Location of Horse with Deadly EIA Unknown


The Illinois State Veterinarian reports it received a positive Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) test result from a horse stabled in Northeast Illinois.

A veterinarian pulled the horse’s blood, but the animal was removed from the facility before the positive test came back in mid-November. The state has not located the horse.

The often fatal disease affects horses, donkeys, and mules. No other animals or humans can contract the virus.
The blood-borne illness is typically transmitted by biting insects. It can also be transmitted from horse to horse through infected needles. There is no cure or vaccine to prevent EIA.

Authorities tested the other horses and quarantined the facility. Another horse tested positive for EIA leading to its euthanasia.

Symptoms include fever, depression, weight loss, swelling and anemia.

A Coggins test is utilized to determine the presence of EIA. By law, any horse traveling to an event, being sold or entering the state must have a negative Coggins less than a year old. Illinois does not recognize “test pending” results for EIA.

There are no treatment options for infected horses so the United States Department of Agriculture requires euthanasia or strict lifelong quarantine for horses testing positive for EIA. Studies show that a 200-yard separation between an isolated positive EIA and other horses prevents transmission of the disease.

The USDA is investigating the case.

Justin Nelzen, Texas Flood Horse Hero, Dies at 40

Horse Hero Gone

update January 17, 2017

Justin Nelzen became the nation’s horse hero when he saved over 25 horses from Houston’s raging floods last spring. Now, he is gone.

Nelzen, 40, died Wednesday, January 11, in Montgomery, TX. Authorities haven’t released a cause of death.

“They wouldn’t let me see him or touch him. I begged and begged,” his mother Tami Nelzen says in an exclusive interview with Rate My Horse PRO.

It may be weeks before we know how Nelzen died.

“I don’t understand why they won’t tell me what the hell happened,” Tami Nelzen adds.

CNN Screenshot: Justin Nelzen saves a drowning horse during historic 2016 Texas floodShe suspects there could be foul play.

Nelzen was a single father of two children, a girl, 14, and boy, 13. The children were with their mother at the time of his death.

Nelzen celebrated at a party with friends a day before he died and posed for a silly photo with his horses.

A veteran of the Navy, Nelzen lived life to the fullest with a smile, despite serving in Afghanistan. His mom says, “he probably suffered from some post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), like every one of them does, but he never showed it”.

Nelzen trained endurance horses, which took him to Dubai and Mongolia, where he won the 650-mile Mongol Derby.

Nelzen also worked as a farrier.

CNN included a photo of Nelzen saving one of the drowning horses in its ‘year in pictures, the moments that shaped 2016’.

“We were so proud,” his mom adds. “His biggest accomplishment was him being himself. He was proof of a life lived.”

Nelzen’s mom says he paid off his truck last month, had his goal list next to his bed and was looking at buying some property. His life was on track.

“This shouldn’t have happened to him,” Nelzen cries. “He was a loving, caring, Christian man.”

Family and friends will celebrate Nelzen’s life Friday, January 20 at 1 PM at Magnolia Cowboy Church at 2347 Glenmont Estates in Magnolia.


Brook Ledge Horse Transport Accident Injures Show Horses

No horses euthanized

A California accident involving Brook Ledge Horse Transport leaves three show horses injured.

Brook Ledge was transporting seven horses when the accident happened Wednesday morning near Redlands. One of the three injured horses remains at an equine clinic for treatment, according to a statement by the company.

A veterinarian checked the other horses before they traveled to their destination. They will be checked again upon their arrival.

The accident occurred when a tractor-trailer lost control as it headed east on I-10. As it passed Brook Ledge’s load of horses it hit the center divider, bounced off and side-swiped the horse transporter, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Brook Ledge Horse Transport, which has multiple locations, including Lexington, KY, was hauling the hunter/jumper horses for Aleron Training Stables. The company was transporting them from the Seattle, WA area to Thermal for the winter circuit.

All of the horses were in box stalls.



Before shipping your horse with a commercial horse transport company make sure you purchase an insurance policy for your horse.

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EHV Exposes 56 Horses at California Boarding Stable

Horse Euthanized

California officials have quarantined a new Los Angeles County boarding stable. The action comes after a confirmed case of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) at the facility, which houses 56 horses.

A veterinarian euthanized a 12-year-old Quarter Horse mare at Whispering Willow, in Glendale, due to the severity of her neurologic signs. Tests confirmed the mare was positive for the wild-type strain, although officials say the horse is classified as a case of EHM.

EHM is most often due to the neuropathologic strain of EHV–1. Non-neurologic strains of the virus can also cause it, according to veterinarians.

A second horse also tested positive for the wild-type strain after presenting with a fever. The 32-year-old horse is isolated on-site.

The state quarantined the multi-discipline facility, which means no horses can go onto the property or leave.

Direct, horse-to-horse contact is a common route of transmission, but indirect transmission is also possible. It occurs when infectious materials are carried between infected and non-infected horses by people or inanimate objects such as buckets, tack, or trailers.

The source of infectious droplets is most often respiratory secretions.

Veterinarians recommend utilizing basic bio-security measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Stay with us as we continue to follow the latest from Los Angeles County.


Police Horse Among 5 Killed in Indiana Barn Fire

Davis Ranch

A barn fire in southern Indiana killed five horses, including a police horse.

Around 3 a.m. Saturday, someone driving by Davis Ranch, in Hardinsburg, stopped to alert the owner regarding a barn fire.

Churchill the Police Horse Perished in Indiana Barn Fire

Despite the flames, ranch owner David Davis was able to save four horses and a cow. Five horses perished in the fire.

One of the horses that didn’t make it out of the blaze was 3-year-old Churchill. The Churchill Downs Foundation recently donated the horse to the Mounted Patrol Unit of Louisville Metro Police. Davis, a horse trainer, was putting additional training on the gelding.

Davis also lost his famous trick horse, Crusader. The 7-year-old stallion performed his liberty act at Breyerfest and the Derby Parade yearly for fans.

Horse Trainer David Davis and Trick Horse Crusader
Crusader perished in the fire.

“The past 48 hours have been a blur. The support and prayer from friends and strangers have counterbalanced the sorrow and shock; which leaves me feeling like I’m floating somewhere in the middle,” Davis said on social media. “But I am deeply thankful for every expression of help and support. Each one has helped strengthen me to press on.”

Davis also lost his hay supply and horse tack.

If you’d like to help Davis, you can donate here.

The official cause of the fire has not been determined.



EHV Confirmed in Kentucky Horses

Neuropathogenic Strain

Kentucky Department of Agriculture officials quarantined an equine facility in Oldham County. Tests confirm that multiple horses are positive for the neurologic form of the equine herpes virus (EHV-1).

A veterinarian notified the KDA after noticing urine dripping in a 2-year-old filly on January 4th. Tests confirmed the horse was positive for the neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1. Officials report the horse continues to improve.

KDA quarantined the index equine facility. Veterinarians tested another 14 horses stabled in the same wing as the neurologic horse, as well as three horses that were preparing to ship.

Two days later, a horse in Wing 2 spiked a fever over 103 degrees. Veterinarians collected nasal swabs and whole blood from the animal. The lab reported two of the 14 horses and the horse with the fever were also positive for the neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1, which is also known as equine myeloencephalopathy (EHM).

Vets expect test results for the remaining 18 horses on Monday.

KDA located all horses moved from the index facility since mid-December. They are assessing and testing the horses, following KDA’s protocol. No horses have been moved to any Kentucky racing or training facility.

Two horses that left the facility in late December traveled to an out of state track. Officials have located the horses, isolated them, and submitted their samples for testing.

An outbreak of EHV-1 continues at the Fair Grounds Race Course in Louisiana with the count at 14 confirmed cases after the weekend.

Kentucky is not allowing any horses that have been at a Louisiana racetrack or training center since December 10 onto any Kentucky track.

Louisiana Horses Quarantined at Fair Grounds Due to EHV-1


January 4, 2017

A fifth horse tested positive for the equine herpes virus at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture allowed the Thoroughbred to be released to a private farm where the animal will be isolated.

The fifth horse tested positive for the wild-type strain, like three of the other infected horses.

The first horse tested positive for the mutated neurogenic strain. A veterinarian euthanized the horse.

The Fair Grounds backstretch remains under quarantine.

One horse euthanized

A Louisiana track is quarantined after multiple horses tested positive for the equine herpes virus. The New Orleans Fair Grounds racetrack is not allowing horses to ship in or out of the property, although racing continues.

Test results confirmed Monday that a third horse from a second barn is positive for EHV-1. This most recent horse spiked a fever, in addition to suffering from mild hind leg deficits and nystagmus (when eyes make uncontrolled movements).

The state originally quarantined one barn containing 46 horses after a 2-year-old Thoroughbred developed a fever and neurological symptoms. A veterinarian euthanized the gelding on December 26. A nasal swab and blood test confirmed the gelding’s diagnosis of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a mutant strain of EHV-1.

EHM was last seen at the track in 2008, according to Louisiana agriculture officials.

Officials are checking horses for signs of fever twice a day. Additional symptoms of EHV-1 include ocular or nasal discharge, limb swelling, abortion, and neurologic signs.

Many veterinarians recommend vaccinating for EHV-1, although there is no vaccine to protect horses from the mutant strain. For more information contact your veterinarian.


EIA Confirmed in Utah Horse

Equine Infectious Anemia

Utah officials confirm a Wasatch County horse was recently euthanized after testing positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). It is the state’s first case of EIA in several years.

The owner imported the Quarter Horse from Mexico in the spring, according to the state’s agriculture group. Tests indicate the horse was negative for EIA, equine piroplasmosis (EP), Glanders, and Dourine before being brought into the states.

The 14-year-old horse was sold to California but never left Utah because of the positive EIA test. The diagnosis was confirmed with additional tests before the horse’s owner chose euthanasia.

Owners have no treatment options for infected horses. The USDA requires euthanasia or strict lifelong quarantine for EIA-positive horses.

The state quarantined another 10 horses at the ranch. Veterinarians are waiting for the horses’ EIA test results.

Shippers hauled 12 horses to Arizona from the same property in the spring. The state notified Arizona’s state veterinarian and its office is working to locate and retest those horses, although they tested negative prior to shipping.

Affected horses can carry the disease without symptoms for years or they may become acutely or chronically infected. Signs of the disease include fever, depression, anemia, and dependent edema. EIA attacks the horse’s immune system.

Biting insects transmit EIA including horse flies and deer flies. Sharing infected needles between horses can also lead to the virus.

Veterinarians recommend insect control, good sanitation, and testing new horses for EIA before bringing them onto your horse property.


Kentucky Horse Park Vies for FEI WEG 2022

FEI World Equestrian Games 2022

The Federation Equestre International announces Kentucky is in the running to host the World Equestrian Games 2022.

Lexington is one of two candidate cities that may put on the FEI WEG 2022.

The other candidate is a small Slovak town in Slovakia. Samorin has hosted other equestrian events including the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships 2016.

“We are very happy to have two such strong official candidates for the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2022,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “Both the Kentucky and Samorin venues have the infrastructure in place already to host the Games, which is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar.”

The FEI holds the Games every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle. It combines eight World Championships at one event. Spectators have the opportunity to view international quality competition in the FEI disciplines of jumping, dressage, para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting, and reining.

The FEI hosted the first WEG in Stockholm, Sweden in 1990. The Kentucky Horse Park hosted the WEG in 2010 making it the first non-European venue. The Games drew attendees from 63 countries and every state. WEG returned to Normandy, France in 2014.

The decision makers will visit the potential hosts’ sites in early 2017. The FEI Bureau will make the final decision in November.

The FEI is holding WEG 2018 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina beginning on September 10, 2018.

The committee originally awarded the 2018 Games to Bromont, Canada, but financial issues led to the switch to Tryon.




23 Horses Perish in Mercury Equine Center Stable Fire

Mercury Equine Center

A barn fire at a Thoroughbred training center in Kentucky killed 23 horses Sunday.

The blaze started in the early hours at the Mercury Equine Center in Lexington. The barn housed 36 horses including yearlings and a few race horses, according to media reports.

Before the burning structure collapsed 13 horses escaped or were saved by staff.

The 60-acre facility houses an additional 50 horses, which remained safe.

Mercury Equine Center specializes in breaking yearlings, race training, injury rehab and sales prep, according to its website.

Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fire.


South Dakota Auction of Karen Sussman’s Mustangs Postponed

Karen Sussman Responsibility? – View Case

South Dakota officials have postponed the auction of up to 650 mustangs. It is the latest turn after mustang sanctuary operator Karen Sussman allegedly starved some of her horses prior to authorities becoming involved.

Sheriff Les Meyer said adoptions approved prior to December 1 can proceed until December 18th. The horses were scheduled to ship to Faith on Thursday. They will remain at the Lantry ranch that the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) calls home.

Sheriff Meyer says he is unable to disclose why the plans changed. It does mean he will be working on Christmas. The sheriffs’ departments remain responsible for caring for the horses he says.

The Rapid City Journal was the first to report early Wednesday that a group of horse organizations reached an agreement with officials to save the horses from shipping to auction. The consortium offered to reimburse the counties for the unpaid costs of caring for the horses. Those involved would also take over the horses’ care and find them new homes. The deal needs Sussman’s consent, but she reportedly failed to show for a recent meeting and didn’t respond to the proposal.

We will continue following the latest in this on-going situation.