Due to recent concerns over the spread of EHV-1 in Florida, the Live Oak International organizing committee is enacting biosecurity measures to ensure the safety of all horses participating in the event, which runs from March 20 to 24 at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, FL.
“The Live Oak team has been working diligently with our FEI veterinary commission, treating vets, jury members, and our fellow competition organizers to create a comprehensive biosecurity plan to ensure the welfare of every horse entered in our tournament,” said Chester C. Weber, Co-President of Live Oak International. “My family has been in the horse business for decades, crossing over many disciplines, and the values of horsemanship run in our blood. It is a great pleasure for our family to welcome our fellow horsemen to the Live Oak International, and we want to do everything we can to maintain everyone’s safety.”
The following health requirements are mandatory for all horses entering the Live Oak International show grounds:
- A State Health Certificate must be provided within 48 hours of arrival
- A veterinarian will examine all horses upon arrival
- There will be designated arrival times, which will be announced prior to the event
- Documentation of Influenza vaccinations no less than 7 days or more than 6 months from arrival date
- Documentation of Equine Herpes (Rhino) vaccinations no less than 7 days or more than 90 days from date of arrival
- Competitors will be required to take their horse’s temperatures twice daily and record them with the stable manager
- No ship-ins will be permitted
Animals not meeting these requirements will not be allowed to enter the premises.
In addition to the biosecurity protocols for competitors, Live Oak International organizers will be pressure washing and disinfecting all stalls prior to the start of competition to further ensure the safety of all animals on the property.
“We have unfortunately had a history of outbreaks of EHV-1 in this country over the past number of years and it is becoming increasingly important that all horse owners take the necessary precautions to protect their animals,” explained Dr. Steve Soule, one of two official International Equestrian Federation (FEI) veterinary delegates for Live Oak International. “The neurological strain of this virus can be life-threatening and has a relatively high contagion rate. Everyone should be proactive in checking temperatures, vaccinating horses, and performing these health examinations prior to transport.”
The Florida Department of Agriculture has confirmed that at least six horses have tested positive for EHV-1 since February. All of the infected animals were stabled at the HITS Ocala show grounds, where the initial case was detected. As a result, the entire facility at HITS has been quarantined. Several farms in the Ocala area are also currently under mandatory quarantine, while numerous others have implemented their own increased biosecurity protocols.
Competitors attending the Live Oak International are being urged to take all necessary precautions to prevent the further spread of EHV-1.
“We continue to work very closely with our veterinary team to implement the necessary biosecurity measures for horses and ponies arriving onto the Live Oak grounds,” said Live Oak International show manager Damien Guthrie. “These new health requirements, along with any updates, can be found on our website, Facebook or by contacting the show office. I have every confidence that the Live Oak International event will be safe for our horses and ponies competing, and we look forward to a successful competition.”
For more information on the Live Oak International, please visit www.liveoakinternational.com.