No New Horses at Desert International Horse Park

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Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 — Effective immediately, the Desert International Horse Park has closed access to new arrivals for “at least the next week.” This is due to an onsite outbreak of EHV-1, otherwise known as Equine Herpesvirus.

On Thursday, Feb. 17, DIHP reported five horses in isolation, all from Barn 34. These horses were reported to be “doing well” and asymptomatic after cases were first reported Tuesday, Feb. 15.

Though monitoring temperatures, testing, and working with USEF, the venue’s veterinary team on the ground at East-West, and the veterinary team at California Department of Food and Agriculture, things escalated Friday.

The Desert International Horse Park released a statement that included the following:

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close access to new arrivals at the horse park for at least the next week. As of this notice, we are not allowing any additional horses on the property. We have reached out to those individuals with horses that are currently in transit and we will accommodate those who are continuing to make their way to the horse park. We also will no longer allow any daily haul-in horses and riders to come to the horse park until further notice.We have been approved to run a modified horse show for the people who are on the property already. With a smaller show, we can spread out the rings to minimize congregation of horses and the potential for nose-to-nose contact. We will issue a revised schedule over the weekend, but we do know for sure that we will not run FEI next week. In the end, we have decided to have a smaller horse show for the horses on the property, as opposed to cancel the show completely.”

Non-quarantined horses are not required to stay on the property.

Well known trainer and rider Hope Glynn took to social media to address the situation with some personal insight, as her horses are stabled—and quarantined—in Barn 34.

“My tent is the one that has been quarantined, and it was my personal horse [that] was one of the original three that tested positive,” Glynn revealed.

While Glynn’s horse did present neurological symptoms, the gelding does not have the neurological strain of EHV-1, and he is currently recovering.

“My horse is totally fine now,” she said. “He’s still in the quarantine tent. He looks good, and we look forward to putting him back to work soon.”

Glynn described the actions being taken by management to be “for the greater good.” Listen to her candid chat:

US Equestrian issued its own statement Friday evening in support of DIHP’s proactive actions:

USEF supports the decision made by Desert International Horse Park management to close access to the horse park for next week and not allow any additional horses on the property. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution in consultation with the CDFA and USEF. The horse show is approved to run for the people and non-quarantined horses who are on the property already. Those individuals with horses currently in transit have been contacted, and management will accommodate those who are continuing to make their way to the horse park. Daily-haul in horses and riders are not permitted until further notice. It is preferential that non-quarantined horses stay on the property to limit potential spread of EHV-1 further. Anyone who decides to leave is strongly encouraged to follow the recommended biosecurity guidelines of USEF and CDFA, and segregate their horses for seven days and continue to do temperature checks twice a day during this period. 

USEF acknowledges that management is taking every step to provide the safest environment possible for horses at the showgrounds and best manage the risks associated with the current EHV-1 cases. 

USEF would also like to remind all participants of the importance of following biosecurity requirements and best practices:

  • Avoid animal-to-animal contact
  • Do not share equipment between horses. IF YOU MUST SHARE, scrub and clean equipment with detergent and dry completely between shared used.
  • When filling water buckets, DO NOT dip the end of the hose in each bucket. Hold the hose above the water when filling.
  • Wash/sanitize hands thoroughly before and after direct horse contact.
  • Limit human-horse contact
  • Check and record temperatures twice daily
  • Any suspiscion of illness in horses, including a temprature over 101.5°F, be immediately reported to the show office or veterinarian
  • Because humans can be a means of disease transmission, avoid moving between barns unless absolutely necessary

Non-compliance could result in the removal of individuals from competition grounds and further penalty from the Federation.

Comprehensive information on biosecurity protocols can be found here:

Competition Safety and Biosecurity

Biosecurity Measures for Horses at Home and at Competitions