January 3, 2007 — In a meeting at the Player’s Club in Wellington, Fla., on January 2 veterinarians, polo club managers and Florida Department of Agriculture official Dr. Michael Short, DVM, addressed a gathering of over 100 on the effects of the Equine Herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) outbreak on the polo community.
Dr. Short, DVM, Veterinarian Manager-Equine Programs for the Florida Department of Agriculture, went over the statistics of the outbreak, such as how many horses have been affected and how many barns and stables are under quarantine. Dr. Short, along with several veterinarians at the meeting, re-iterated that the best way to fight the outbreak was to get educated about it and follow proper hygiene protocol such as washing hands and disinfecting the boots, bridles and other equipment that come in contact with any horse.
Polo club managers announced facility starting dates. Phil Heatley of Outback Polo announced that they moved their opening back to January 12. Marla Connor of Gulfstream Polo Club said they will begin league play Friday. Jimmy Newman of International Polo Club Palm Beach announced that the high-goal polo season is going to begin as scheduled on January 14 with eight teams. Royal Palm Polo Club in Boca Raton will begin play on January 14, one week later than planned. Southampton Polo said they will hold practices. Robin Dutoit, who runs the youth polo, will follow the recommendations of Outback Polo and International Polo Club managers.
White Birch and the Broncos, a new team based in England playing at International Polo Club for the first time, are located in the barns at the Palm Beach Sports Complex which are under mandatory quarantine. White Birch, generally regarded as the best organization in the U.S., has lost two horses in the last two weeks. They were not scheduled to play in the first tournament but were expected to participate in the last four tourneys. The Broncos were scheduled to play only in the first two tournaments.
Fran Jurga keeps you updated on the outbreak in The Jurga Report: Horse Health Headlines blog.