Desert International Horse Park organizers announced Friday that the facility in Thermal, California, will be closed to haul-ins this weekend in response to two recent reports elsewhere in the state of equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, the neurological form of equine herpesvirus-1.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the two EHM cases this week: one March 14 in a 19-year-old Saddlebred gelding at a private boarding facility in Los Angeles County, and one March 16 in a 17-year-old polo mare at a polo facility in Riverside County.
“We have been in close communication with the CDFA to ensure that there was no potential for impact from these two cases on our property,” DIHP said in a Friday press release. “Both cases occurred in horses of different disciplines (polo and saddlebred). Contact tracing suggests no interaction between horses from these two incidents and any horse from our facility.
“Upon learning of the Riverside County event, out of abundance of caution we closed the horse park to daily haul-ins and horses from local farms in the area.”
The policy will remain in effect through end of day Sunday, March 19, when the Desert Circuit Week IX competition concludes.
The horse park was at the center of an EHV-1 outbreak last year that ultimately canceled the winter circuit and shut down horse sports across the state for several months.