French Grand Prix riders have started a mass exodus from the 2021 CDI Ornago in Italy today after fellow team rider Morgan Barbançon reported two EHV-1 positive horses, one at home and one at the show.
EHV- 1 Outbreak in Barbançon's Stable
French team rider Morgan Barbançon was supposed to compete Sir Donnerhall II, Black Pearl and Deadoro in the 2021 CDI Ornaga at the Malaspina equestrian centre on 6 - 9 May 2021.
After a last training session with her coach Dorothee Schneider, she began the journey to Italy and arrived at the show grounds. However, her Italian stay did not last long and Barbançon returned home before yesterday's Grand Prix class.
Today Barbançon posted on her social media that the reason of her return was an EHV-1 outbreak in her stable in Geneva. One horse at home tested positive.
"As the competition approached, I took care to test all of my nine horses for rhinopneumonia several times. All the results were negative; So I took the road calmly to Italy. When I arrived at the competition, a test carried out in Switzerland before our departure was positive on a horse that had remained in the stables," she explained. "As a precaution, even though the three competing horses were negative, I preferred to return after having informed the organizer and those concerned so that they could make the right decisions that were necessary and in order to run the least risk to the horses of other competitors."
Morgan also disclosed that one of the three horses that were in Ornago with her turned out to be positive
"Yesterday I learned that one of my horses in the show was unfortunately also positive. The organizer and the FEI manage the matter by isolating the barn where my horses were. It’s a real blow and I’m devastated. I would like to warmly thank the organizer for his responsiveness and his invaluable support at this difficult time. I also thank my team, the federal staff and all the riders who have already shown me their support and appreciated the responsible attitude that I tried to adopt, despite the shock, by warning all the authorities of the situation."
Emmanuelle Schramm-Rossi, French Technical Dressage Director who is in Ornago, told Dressprod that the French Grand Prix riders have started a mass exodus from the show grounds.
"The horses in the stables blocks other than the one where the infected horse was, were given permission to do what they wanted: leave the competition or stay," Schramm explained. "Things are in the process of being arranged, but overall the riders are leaving to put their horses in good isolation conditions, even though the big distance between the barns make us hopeful that there is not a lot of reason to be worried. This is why the FEI authorized us to leave. The departure also will help us to approach the Nations Cup in Compiègne (at the end of May) serenely."
Schramm concluded, "it has to be noted that at present there are no sick horses in the stables."
The majority of riders decided to stay at the venue and continue the competition. The horses, which were stabled in the same block as the positive horse, are being quarantined but allowed to compete. All those horses have now been tested and will be allowed to return back home when they test negative.
EHV-1 in Italy
Italy was also struck in the original EHV-1 outbreak in February-March that was first detected on a major show jumping circuit in Valencia.
At the same time two show jumping tours were taking place in Italy: one in San Giovanni in Marignano (ITA), the other in Gorla Minore. The FEI required these Jumping Tour venues to have stringent biosecurity protocols in place and additional FEI Veterinary Delegates onsite.
On 2 March the San Giovanni tour was cancelled. On 8 March the Organisers of the Jumping Tour in Gorla Minore (ITA) advised the FEI of the cancellation of the remaining three weeks of competition. This was done due to low entry numbers. There were no sick horses at the Italian venue. On 15 March a horse returning from Gorla Minore (ITA) has tested positive for EHV-1 following a precautionary test at its home stables in Austria.
On 20 April the Italian Equestrian Federation (FISE) reported that a horse competing at a national jumping show held at the Horse Bridge club in None (200 km from Ornago) was euthanized after testing positive to EHV-1 and showing severe neurological symptoms.
On 6 May Dido Valvassori, member of the veterinary committee of the Piemonte regional equestrian federation, confirmed a second outbreak of EHV-1 in the area after one horse tested positive. The horse showed no signs of illness though.
Three Positive in Switzerland
On 7 May the FEI published that it was advised that three horses had tested positive for EHV-1 at a stables in Switzerland. The positive results were confirmed only after an athlete from the home stables had arrived on-venue at the Italian CDI in Ornago (ITA) on Wednesday evening this week.
Following confirmation of the positives at the home stables, all three horses have now left the venue, as officially validated by the event checkout system on the FEI HorseApp. The FEI is following up on this situation, together with the National Federation.
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