Equine Herpes outbreak forces Tournament of Roses to cancel Equestfest

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses has been monitoring recent instances of the Equine Herpes virus cases detected in Los Angeles County at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. This rare neurological form of the virus could potentially affect the safety and well being of the equine participants at the 2016 Equestfest event.

The Tournament of Roses and Wells Fargo, the sponsor of Equestfest, hold the health and safety of the equines in high importance. This respect and concern for safety has necessitated cancellation of this year's Equestfest program.

The Tournament of Roses is committed to ensuring the safety of all Rose Parade participants, including all Equestfest equestrian unit participants and their animals. We are working with appropriate governmental officials and the Associations veterinary consultant to insure the well-being of the animals participating in the 2017 Rose Parade.

Additional safeguards and protocols will be adopted in this regard by both the Tournament and all equestrian entries schedule to participate in the Rose Parade.

Additional safeguards and protocols will be adopted to ensure a safe environment. It is anticipated that all equestrian entries scheduled to participate in the 2017 Rose Parade will do so.

"While I am disappointed by the circumstances that have led to this decision, the health and well-being of our equestrian family supersedes all else," said Tournament of Roses President, Brad Ratliff. "The most remote possibility of infection is far too great a risk for these magnificent animals, and while this decision was difficult to announce, it was easy to make."

"The professionalism and concern for the equines by our friends at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center has been tremendous," said Ratliff. "we have been in constant communication with the team at the LAEC and the decision to cancel the event was a collaboration between our two organizations. We look forward to a successful Equestfest next year and continue in the rich traditions of showcasing the talents and beauty of our equestrian family."

Holders of 2016 Equestfest tickets will be provided a full refund. Refunds will be automatically processed with no further action by the ticket holders. No tickets need to be returned to the point of purchase. Due to the volume of refunds, we appreciate your patience in receiving refunds.

The Tournament of Roses apologizes for any inconvenience the cancellation may cause.

A couple of notes that are important, and you can credit American Association of Equine Practitioners on this:

EHV is actually several viruses in the same family that are actually common in horses. Almost all horses, at some point or another, are exposed to it with no serious side effects.

There is a vaccination that you give your horse, so that it develops resistance over time, and that is why most have been exposed.

Once in a while, a horse in a barn becomes sick, and tests positive for the virus, that barn immediately goes into quarantine, because this is how it spreads, and you can see it is highly transmittable:

-- Human contaminated hands or clothing
-- Contaminated equipment and tack
-- Contaminated trailers used for transporting horses
-- Contaminated wipe rags or other grooming equipment
-- Contaminated feed and water buckets

It is airborne, so the air in the horses stall is also considered infected. It can live for a month in the environment.

Every state has rules as to how long a barn should be quarantined.

The virus does not necessarily develop in the animal's sexual organs, although in mares, it does cause a venereal disease, and makes them abort, if they are pregnant.

A lot of the time, it's a respiratory, upper tract disease, or a neurological disease, which is fatal if the animal has not natural protection (older horses, or foals).

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