Fairgrounds news

June 3, 2011

UPDATE: June 3, 2011

Garfield County Fairgrounds plans to reopen to incoming horses and equine activities on Monday, June 6, 2011. Cases of Equine Herpesvirus may not be continuing to increase in number, so officials are cautiously beginning to reopen facilities around the state. Garfield County will continue to monitor the situation and make further decisions as warranted.

Department of Agriculture page on equine herpesvirus

UPDATE: May 31, 2011

The Garfield County Fairgrounds remain closed to incoming horses while officials track the spread of the Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1). The Western Slope Reigning Horse Association has voluntarily postponed its June 10-12 Rifle Summer Classic at the fairgrounds, as organizers of several other events ponder June cancellations as well.

Meanwhile, the toll by May 26 had grown to 33 cases of horses confirmed as having the disease following an Ogden, UT equine event where the outbreak first occurred. Colorado and California are tied in having the most horses confirmed with the disease, each having nine ill horses.

The neurologic form of EHV-1 is called Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM), and Colorado is tied with California in first place once again, each having six confirmed cases of this disease.

“We are monitoring the spread of the virus carefully, and have not seen other Colorado facilities go back to usual activity yet,” said Garfield County Fairgrounds Manager Dave Ebeler. “Other events are continuing to occur at our fairgrounds while horse events are not underway again yet.”

On a lesser scale, horses that were not at the Utah event during the outbreak, but that have been exposed to horses that were there, are being tracked for signs of the disease. Arizona is topping the list there with eight confirmed ill cases, while Colorado and California each only have one case. Colorado has twelve facilities that have been exposed to ill horses.
USDA Animal Health Monitoring and Surveillance (above statistics are from the May 26, 2011 Situation Report located center page.)

May 23, 2011

Garfield County Fairgrounds closes to incoming horses

The Garfield County Fairgrounds has cancelled all horse shows, riding events and open arena time from May 21 until at least June 1, 2011, to protect the facilities from the risk of exposure to horses contaminated with Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1). Horses boarded at the fairgrounds facility may not return to the Garfield County Fairgrounds if they are taken off grounds at any time during the quarantine.

Fairgrounds staff took the measure following alerts from the Colorado Department of Agriculture of nine confirmed cases of EHV-1 in Colorado horses, including some in western Colorado. Twelve quarantine and hold orders have been issued in eight counties, including Garfield County. Two horses have been euthanized after showing severe neurological signs associated with the disease.

Garfield County Fairgrounds Manager Dave Ebeler says he is confident the grounds are virus free due to the fact that the last horse event there was held May 7, prior to the spread of the virus. He says that the horses boarded at the fairgrounds have exhibited no signs of infection. “We cancelled two events over the weekend of May 21, a Colorado Quarter Horse Show Association event and a roping event,” says Ebeler, “and we will continue the closure until the risk has passed. We want to take the best measures possible to keep our facility from any health risks to horses here.”

All other types of animals are still allowed on the grounds for other planned activities, and several public events are also ongoing.

Many fairgrounds around the state have taken like measures in closing to prevent exposure of the grounds to the virus.