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Herpes Outbreak In Horses Postpones Pony Express Re-enactment

Todd Warshaw/Pool/Getty Images

We first learned about the herpes outbreak in horses from David Drew’s blog yesterday.  Girls were forced to ride sticks instead of ponies for their competition because of the deadly viral outbreak in horses.  Now it’s spread into other horse related events, including the Pony Express Re-enactment.

Wind, rain, sleet, snow, wind, and any other weather related obstacles have never stopped the Pony Express, but the threat of sick horses spreading the disease has postponed the re-enactment for the first time in it’s 32 year history.

The highly contagious virus poses no risk to humans but has been blamed for the deaths of at least 12 horses since the outbreak began in early May at a cutting horse competition in Ogden, Utah.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed 75 cases in nine Western states, including three on the Pony Express trail: Utah, Nevada and California.

Since 1979, about 1,000 volunteers and more than 600 horses have been re-enacting the 1,966-mile ride that also passes through parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming in relay fashion.

Organizers are hoping the virus will have run its course by the time the rescheduled dates come around.

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Let’s hope this outbreak does run it’s course and clear up quickly.  Who knows what could be next?  Fairs?  4H competitions?  Horse drawn carriage rides?

Oh and by the way, from what I’ve read about this virus, it is not transferred sexually, but through touch.  It can even spread if a human touches an infected horse and touches another without washing his or her hands.  The good news is that it is not contagious to humans.

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