UPDATE: Deadly Virus Hits Horse Circuit
MSNBC.COM - Alice Rieckman has spent most of her life as a horsewoman. She runs Rieckman's Arabians, a horse farm in Kennewick, Wash. Horses are constantly being brought in for training sessions and care or heading out for shows, but right now, none are being allowed into or out of the farm.
Washington is one of nine Western states where equine herpes virus 1, or EHV-1, has spread since it was first detected in early May at the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championship show in Ogden, Utah. So far 75 horses have been infected, 12 of which have been put down, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
None of the horses are at Rieckman's Arabians, but Rieckman is taking no chances. She has quarantined the farm to make sure no horse that could have been at the show or exposed to one of them can endanger her animals.
"It really would be devastating to lose one or to have them get sick, because they can't help themselves," she said. "You know, they depend on us to keep them well."
With the opening of the summer horse season under way, breeders, owners and exhibitors are deeply concerned. The National Cutting Horse Association has canceled all events nationwide through mid-June, hoping to keep the virus in check.
Horse cutting — the horses don't actually cut anything; they're trained to track cows, or "cut" them away," in championship competitions — is a fast-growing sport, and the cancellations and related fallout threaten to take a big economic toll. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY AND TO WATCH THE VIDEO REPORT
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