No Ship-Ins from Ocala, Increased Biosecurity Protocols at Palm Beach International in Wellington

two horses on a van by Jan Glas

Are you planning to ship horses to or within Florida soon? The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington is the first event to announce shipping restrictions and increased biosecurity in light of a positive case of Equine Herpes Virus sourced to the HITS Ocala Show in Central Florida today. (Jan Glas photo)

This press release relates to a story reported earlier today on The Jurga Report. Please read Ocala HITS Show Responds to EHV Threat at Showgrounds in Florida” to understand more about the situation in Florida.

The following press release may be of importance to equestrians and horse industry professionals involved in Florida competitions:

Wellington, FL – February 22, 2013 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) announces that biosecurity protocols are being increased for the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center due to the positive case of EHV-1 in Ocala, Florida. ESP is taking these precautionary steps necessary for the safety of the horses on the property.

There has been no indication of any suspect cases in Wellington.

Effective immediately, no horses will be allowed to ship onto the PBIEC property (both WEF and GDF grounds at The Stadium) without a health certificate within 48 hours of arriving. It is mandatory that all horses shipping into the PBIEC (both WEF and GDF grounds at The Stadium) arrive during daylight hours.

Unfortunately, we will not be able accept any horses arriving from Ocala onto the property at this time.

Those arriving at the PBIEC who need health certificates can either call Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC) at 561-793-1599 to receive a current health certificate or can get one from the PBEC veterinarian on the grounds.

ESP is asking all equestrians, especially those stabling off PBIEC property, to enact biosecurity protocols and be proactive and responsible for their horses, including daily temperature charts. Please do not bring any horses that come from Ocala onto PBIEC property.

ESP management has contacted all major shippers to inform them of the situation and for them to increase their biosecurity as well. There is currently no restriction on horses leaving the property.

An integral part of a showing environment includes healthy horses.  Exhibitors, especially those traveling long distances, can contribute to that healthy environment by following some basic recommendations listed below. Please monitor our web site at for any additional and possibly mandatory requirements.

1) A current negative Coggins test. Please renew before it expires, and not just before it is necessary to leave the state. It is strongly recommended that all horses be vaccinated for Equine EHV-1 (either modified live or killed vaccine) no sooner than 7 days prior and no later than 90 days prior to entering the show grounds. Most EHV-1 vaccines are only considered effective for 90 days.  Check with your veterinarian about which vaccine you use.

2) A health certificate within 48 hours is required for all horses shipping onto the property. All horses should be able to produce proof of vaccine, preferably labeled on these health certificates. Those who need health certificates when they arrive can contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 or contact PBEC vets on the show grounds.

3) You should be able to document your horse’s normal temperature before arrival. Please do not ship horses with elevated temperatures. It is recommended that you establish a log of temperatures taken at least twice daily. If there is an elevated temperature for more than a 24-hour period, please consult your local Veterinarian immediately.

4) Every effort should be made to minimize stress and commingling of horses shipped long distances. Extra hours on a horse van, or moving from stable to stable, is the fastest way to compromise your horses’ and your neighbors’ horses’ health.

5)  Any horse on the show grounds with a fever of unknown origin or of suspicious origin must be reported to ESP, LLC Management. It is always better to err on the side safety.  Isolation stalls will either be available on the grounds or at a local veterinary practice if the need arises.

6) Please take the time to review equine good hygiene practices and express its importance to your groom in everyday care.

Please visit or call 561-793-5867 for more information on the biosecurity protocols in use.

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Research Report: Who’s More Stressed in the Show Ring: Horse or Rider?

Cadre Noir at Saumur

A horse with the Cadre Noir at Saumur, France rehearses for a performance. Is he more stressed during practice or during the show? What about his rider? (University of Vienna image)

It’s show time. And there you are walking your horse toward the in gate. It’s about to open. The crowd will cheer. The symptoms are palpable: rapid pulse, dry mouth, shaky voice, blushing and sweaty palms. Your trainer is talking, giving last minute instructions, but you don’t hear her anymore.

Riders forget their dressage freestyles, eventers get lost on cross-country, and saddle-seat equestrians sweat off all that carefully-applied makeup. It feels like the whole world is watching.

A comparison of stress levels of both horses and riders confirms that riders suffer more stress when performing in front of an audience than when practicing but that the horses themselves react similarly whether or not spectators are present.

It is well known that horses show symptoms of stress when ridden but relatively little attention has been paid to stress in riders. Equestrian sport success relies on close cooperation between animals and their riders, but how does each component of the horse-rider team react to the stress of competing in front of an audience?

Researcher Mareike von Lewinski from Professor Dr. Christine Aurich’s group at the University of Vienna measured the changes in various stress-related parameters, measured as the level of stress hormones in saliva and the regularity of the pulse, in both horse riders.

University of Vienna researcher tests cortisol in horse saliva.

Researchers collected saliva from horses during practice and during performance. They can measure the stress hormone cortisol in the saliva.

The measurements were taken both when the presentation was completed in front of about a thousand spectators and when the riders practiced beforehand without any spectators. The results were then compared to assess how the riders and their mounts responded to the presence of the audience.

In line with previous experiments, the researchers observed symptoms of stress — higher cortisol concentrations in the saliva and more irregular heartbeats — both in horses and riders during the study.

However, the riders showed significantly higher levels of stress when an audience was present, confirming that participation in equestrian events is associated with stage fright, even in experienced riders.

There are many reasons why riders might be more stressed when performing in front of an audience than when they are merely practicing for an event. In contrast, the horses’ reactions were essentially independent of the presence of an audience.

The results imply that the riders might communicate their heightened anxiety to the animals. But, in reality, the transfer of emotions between rider and horse was absent. Aurich concedes,”We started with the assumption that the rider’s stress would affect his horse but this does not seem to be the case. Nevertheless, we should bear in mind that we were working with experienced horses and highly skilled riders. Our findings cannot be generalized to inexperienced riders, who might be less able to prevent their horses from being stressed by the situation.”

The research team has published several papers previously on stress levels in sport horses; this was their first study to involve the riders.

The paper, “Cortisol release, heart rate and heart rate variability in the horse and its rider: Different responses to training and performance“, by Mareike von Lewinski, Sophie Piao, Regina Erber, Natasha Ille, Jörg Aurich, Jean-Michel Faure, Erich Möstl and Christine Aurich has just been published online by the Veterinary Journal.

The work was carried out at the Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Science, a joint research unit of the University of Vienna and the Brandenburg State Stud at Neustadt (Dosse ), Germany and at the Ecole Nationale d`équitation in Saumur, France.

Photos courtesy of the University of Vienna / J. Aurich

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“Smart and Strong-Willed” Rachel Alexandra Progress Report from Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital

Rachel Alexandra in her new stall at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital

Rachel Alexandra in her new stall at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital outside Lexington, Kentucky. With her is Brent Comer, Medicine and ICU Technician at the hospital, who has always been by her side during the recovery.

Here’s the latest update from Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky about the condition of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who has been hospitalized for complications following giving birth to a healthy filly foal last week.

Rood & Riddle’s latest report is printed as supplied this afternoon by the hospital’s contact person, Alex Riddle:

“Doctors at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky reported on Monday that 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra’s condition remains stable as she recovers from abdominal surgery performed Wednesday, February 13th following foaling complications. Rood & Riddle, along with the mare’s owners at Stonestreet Farms, have been working together to keep the public informed about her condition.

“‘If she wasn’t as smart and as strong-willed as she is,’ said Dr. Bonnie Barr, ‘she wouldn’t be progressing the way she is.’”

“This morning Rachel was able to go for a short walk outside, during which time she was able to eat a small amount of grass. She remains bright with normal vital signs. On Saturday, a small amount of feed was introduced in addition to her IV fluids and nutrition. Her appetite continues to improve and attending veterinarians, Dr. Bonnie Barr and Dr. Brett Woodie, remained encouraged by her progress.

“Please look for the next update on her condition Wednesday unless a change should occur. Her new, brighter stall is lucky #13, just like her Preakness post position from which she also defied the odds.”

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Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) Confirmed in Horse at Denver’s National Western Stock Show Rodeo

Horse Health Alert from The Jurga Report

The Colorado Department of Agriculture issued this announcement on Tuesday, January 29, 2013:

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Agriculture is investigating one confirmed case of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) within the state. A quarantine has been placed on seven horses including the index case; a hold order has been placed on six additional horses who may have had direct contact.

The affected horse, a six year old gelding from Texas, is part of the team of quarter horses used during the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) rodeo to pull a stagecoach during rodeo performances. The horse began showing clinical signs January 27 and was transported to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital for diagnosis and treatment.

The diagnosis of Equine Herpesvirus was confirmed January 28, 2013.

The affected horse is isolated and in stable condition. The other horses from the team are under quarantine at the NWSS coliseum and hold orders have been placed on other contact horses.

“The Department is taking quick and appropriate actions to investigate, control and mitigate this disease,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. “We will continue to trace the potential contacts of this horse in order to protect Colorado’s equine industry.”

The affected horse was housed in the coliseum at the National Western from January 7-28. Neither the gelding nor the rest of the team had any contact with horses being housed and shown in the Events Center and the Hall of Education. Horse owners who traveled to the NWSS and participated in events in the coliseum should monitor their horses for clinical signs and contact their veterinarian immediately if their horse becomes ill or has a fever. Owners who have horses with clinical signs consistent with neurological EHV-1 infection should consult their veterinarians.

Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. While there is no cure, the symptoms of the disease may be treatable.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people; it can be a serious disease of horses that can cause respiratory, neurologic disease and death. The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through the air, contaminated equipment, clothing and hands.

EHV-1 is not transmissible to people; it can be a serious disease of horses that can cause respiratory, neurologic disease and death. The most common way for EHV-1 to spread is by direct horse-to-horse contact. The virus can also spread through the air, contaminated tack and equipment, clothing and hands.

EHV-1 was also diagnosed in Douglas County, Colorado in 2012. In early May, one horse tested positive for EHV-1. Prior to exhibiting signs of the disease, the affected horse had recently traveled to Colorado from Iowa. The Douglas County horse was euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease.

Additional Resources for Readers:

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Holiday Photo Fun: Twas the Horse Before Christmas, 2012 Edition

It’s time for The Jurga Report‘s annual collection of the symbolism of horses and horse culture in the holiday season. This gallery is compiled of shop windows, lighting displays and horse symbols dressed up for the holidays, from Glasgow, London, Las Vegas, San Francisco…horses are everywhere at Christmas, if you look, although none of these are real. But we know what they represent: horses are a big part of the magic of Christmas, as these talented photographers show us. Enjoy!

© photo Wendy Wooley

Cowboys, cowgirls and their horses ruled Las Vegas this month as the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo took over the Strip. Even the signature MGM lion wore a cowboy hat in the lobby of the Grand. (photo © Wendy Wooley)

Floating Rocking Horse.

A surreal rocking horse floats near the ceiling in this American home. Photo © Caden Crawford.

Bloomingdales windown, New York

Horses show up in New York City every year at Christmas time. These mime-masked dressage riders fill Bloomingdale's window. Think: Marcel Marceau at the Spanish Riding School! Terrific Instagram © by Shelly S.

Bellagio Conservatory

I hope this horse is anchored in place because if he rocks, that gingerbread house is history. The giant rocking horse dominates the holiday display at Bellagio Las Vegas. Photo © Walt Wick.

Joey, star of the stage play War Horse, went caroling in London's crowded Leicester Square on Friday. That horse gets around! (Karl Westworth photo)

Equestrian Santa

Gypsy Mare Studio's Jennifer McNeill-Traylor went between the branches of this Christmas tree to captured the beautifully-lit equestrian ornament.

George Square

The Christmas Carousel in the square in Glasgow, Scotland is a magical place at Christmas time, as this child's wide eyes will attest. He's riding Indie and he's not about to let go fo that pole! Thanks to Daniel V. G. Hughes for his vision of a horse-themed holiday.

Glass Horses

These glass horses gallop through the holiday season in an elegant store window in San Francisco's financial district. They caught the eye of photographer James Mourgos.

Christmas Concert

The conductor was in for a surprise when the Christmas concert at Novi High School outside Detroit came around to "Sleigh Ride". The entire percussion session suddenly appeared wearing horsehead masks and played on, including shaking their bells. The audience loved it and, luckily, Chris Scarlett was there with his camera.

These delicately-sculpted foals are works of art in Oklahoma all year round, but at Christmas, the dark stone and gray background are sparked by the neon-bright wreath collars. The perfect finishing touch! Photo © Patty K.

Thanks to all the photographers who cooperated on this project, and who are continuing to shoot symbolic horses this Christmas, all over the world! A Merry Equestrian Christmas to all!

See more:

The Jurga Report 2011 horse-holiday photo gallery

YouTube mashup of horse holiday tv commercials (fun!)

The Urban Christmas Horse: The Jurga Report 2010 Holiday Photos

2010: Holiday Horses Light Up the Night Sky

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