It’s Really Back: West Nile Virus
Live West Nile virus has been detected this spring in samples of mosquitoes in New York City, close to the area where the human outbreak began last year, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Testing of a dead red-tailed hawk found in Westchester County, just north of New York City, also yielded the virus.
“It’s no longer speculation,” said Duane Gubler of the CDC. “There likely will be transmission in the spring. It’s a very strong likelihood the virus will persist.”
New York City and surrounding Northeast states are ready to start using larvicides in areas where the virus was active last year, which may eliminate the need to spray areas with insecticides to kill adult mosquitoes. Use of insecticides will be held off unless there is evidence the virus is active in adult mosquitoes or cases turn up in people, horses or sentinel chickens (birds being maintained and periodically tested specifically as indicators of West Nile transmission).
The European Union lifted its ban on importation of U.S. horses from affected areas on Feb. 1. However, this latest information and/or the appearance of any cases in 2000, may lead to the reinstatement of the ban. (For more information on the West Nile virus see December 1999 and March 2000 issues.)
Dressage Olympic Selection Trials Moved
The USET moved the Dressage Olympic Selection Trials May 13-14 and 20-21 from its Gladstone, N.J., headquarters to Loxahatchee, Fla. USET officials were concerned that the European Union might again restrict travel of horses from the Northeast due to the West Nile Virus. The dressage team is due to compete in Europe after the trials before it heads to the Sydney Olympics in September.
Team officials said they were concerned about the travel ban and not about the virus itself, since New Jersey has strong mosquito control and there is no actual evidence that horses there are at risk. Plans for three-day and show jumping horses to compete and train at Gladstone this spring and summer have not been changed. Those squads will travel directly to Australia from the United States.
Three-Day Event On ESPN
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event will be shown on ESPN Sunday, May 7, from 4:30-5:30 EDT. Rolex Kentucky, the only four-star combined training event in the United States, takes place April 27-30 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
The event is a USET selection trial for the 2000 Olympics and has a purse of $150,000. In addition, a $250,000 Grand Slam of Eventing will be awarded to any rider who wins Rolex Kentucky plus England’s Badminton and Burghley four-star events in succession.
AHC Directory Available
The American Horse Council’s 2000 Horse Industry Directory is now available for purchase for $20 without becoming an AHC member.
The directory includes both national and international contacts covering every segment of the equine community plus industry information. Among the listings are: breed registries, commercial organizations, educational institutions, welfare organizations, federal and state information sources, libraries and museums, racetracks, publications, sport organizations, AHC state and local member organizations, interstate health requirements, and transportation companies.
To get a copy, send a check to the AHC at 1700 K. St., Suite 300, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006 or call 202/296-4031 for credit-card orders. Quantity discounts are available. For information on the AHC, see www.horsecouncil.org. And, yes, it’s well worth the $20.
Pet Stores Become Tack Shops
The supermarket approach to shopping for horse supplies has been added to our familiar tack shops, feed stores and catalogs. State Line Tack now has 31 outlets in Petsmart stores across the country. Petsmart is a large, national chain of discount pet supplies.
The Petsmart equine departments vary in the range of products they carry, including nutritional supplements and horse-care items, although there is usually a core selection of saddles and bridles. Shoppers there can also call the catalog directly for a wider selection.
State Line/Petsmart added outlets in Mesa, Ariz., and Bridgewater, N.J., this past winter. Others stores opening at the end of April are in Mishawaka, Ind., and Brentwood, Tenn. State Line also has two stand-alone stores in Plaistow, N.H., and Hockessin, Del. You can find if an outlet is near you by calling 800/785-0557. (The Petsmart flyer says you’re welcome to bring your pet with you into the store. They don’t say if you also can bring your horse in to try on saddles or taste-test treats.)