Horse arena at Island County Fairgrounds to reopen after scare

The horse arena at the Island County Fairgrounds will reopen for a show on Saturday, June 11, fair officials said Monday.

The equestrian facilities at the county fairgrounds in Langley were closed on May 19 in light of the EHV-1 outbreak in the Western U.S. While no cases of Equine Herpes Virus 1, a highly contagious animal disease, were reported in Island County, fair officials shut down the facilities as a precautionary measure.

Late last week, state officials said it appeared that the recent outbreak of EHV-1 was contained.

All told, eight horses tested positive for the disease in Washington, and four of the animals are believed to have been exposed to the virus at the National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships in Ogden, Utah.

Concern over the disease spreading last month led many organizers across Washington to cancel long-planned horse shows, rodeos, parades and trail rides.

“The prompt actions of horse owners across the state limited the transmission of disease,” said State Veterinarian Leonard Eldridge. “There is a lot of disappointment about cancelled events — that’s certainly understandable — but it’s a small price to pay to keep our animals safe from this potentially deadly virus.”

The state veterinarian’s office continues to recommend that event organizers request temperature checks of horses before and during events.

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