Last year Badminton Horse Trials was cancelled because of weather conditions, so it must have been a nightmare to learn that a case of Equine Herpes Virus was found at the Beaufort Hunt Stables, situated at Badminton, Gloucestershire.
The virus had already been diagnosed back in February in other stables in Gloucestershire, and foxhunting was suspended by the hunts in some areas, to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.
It’s very important to isolate any horses that show the signs, like higher temperature, coughing, nasal discharge and less interest in food. It’s vital that any horse that has been in contact with an equine where the diagnosis has been confirmed, should stay put and not leave the yard, until the vet’s are satisfied that everything is under control.
The Equine Herpes Virus has two strains:
EHV1 which may cause respiratory problems and abortion in pregnant mares, and in rare cases can cause neurological problems leading to paralysis.
EHV4 this strain mostly causes respiratory problems and occasionally triggers abortion in pregnant mares.
Badminton Horse Trials is situated in beautiful Badminton Park, home of the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort. When I was a young girl I was lucky enough to live about an hour away from Badminton, so many times we went to the horse trials on cross country day and marvelled the fantastic sights we saw, watching the talented and very brave horses and riders negotiate the beautifully built but very scarey obstacles. Every year it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world, and of course the very best horses and riders who are at the top of their sport, participate.
Although it is very sad and unfortunate that the virus has been detected and confirmed at the stables at Badminton Park, every precaution has been made to contain it. The isolation period for the infection is approximately 4 weeks , and the horses entered for this years trials are due to arrive in about 6 weeks, so that is already a bit encouraging. Also, the organisers are consulting with biosecurity advisors from the Animal Health Trust, and are doing everything possible to ensure that they can provide a secure environment for the international event horses if Badminton Horse Trials takes place on the planned date, Thursday May 2nd.
I was planning to be at Badminton on cross country day this year, to meet up with a couple of friends, one who is very fortunate to live at Badminton and the other is making the trip from Atlanta, USA.
A word of advice to any Eventing enthusiasts who have never been to Badminton, put it on your wish list. Badminton House and Park are beautiful and the surrounding countryside breathtaking, not forgetting the wonderful horses and riding you’ll get to see!