HITS Ocala: Entire Show Now Quarantined, But Still Running, as More Horses Test Positive for EHV

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A second case of Equine Herpes Virus at the HITS Ocala hunter-jumper show in Central Florida is leading state and horse show officials to the next stage of handling an outbreak among a population of transient horses.

After a horse stabled in the Ocala area tested positive for EHV Tuesday night, a quarantine was placed on the showgrounds. The horse had been showing at HITS Ocala before it became sick. State veterinarians were at the showgrounds today to meet with management.

Office manager Kristen Vale once again agreed to speak with The Jurga Report about the situation at her show. "In the best interest of horse health and equestrian sport, there is now a quarantine on the showgrounds," she said. "We will continue showing."

Kristen clarified that anyone who was planning to come to Ocala to show at HITS would still be able to bring their horses onto the grounds. But they will not be able to leave until the quarantine is lifted.

"It could just be for a few days," Kristen said, referring to the length of the quarantine. "Or it could be as long as 14 days."

Other horses tested positive in South Florida locations after showing at HITS Ocala.

"We are doing what is best for horse health, while hoping that there are no further cases. But if there are (going to be more cases), we don't want them leaving from this show and going out into the world."

Kristen said that she wanted the horse world to know that they are continuing to show; the event is scheduled to run into mid-March.

"Please let people know that there are no other restrictions in Florida, at the moment," she stressed. "At least, that I know of. Horse owners need to be vigilant of their horses' health."

She also gave an update of the first horse that was taken to Gainesville to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. She said that it is recovering, but did not know how long it would be hospitalized.

HITS Ocala is planning to issue a statement this evening, which will be posted on the HITS web site and Facebook page.

The show season in Florida is in full swing, and horses are criss-crossing the state as they are often entered in different classes at different shows, especially if they are competing for prize money at a specific level. The success of the show world depends on horses being in motion, but tracking which horses have been at which shows and in contact with which other horses is a formidable question that perhaps only time will answer.

Meanwhile the inaugural FEI Furusiyya Nation's Cup is scheduled for Friday night at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. Many of the world best showjumpers are planning to jump there.