Horse virus sparks lockdown of facility in Hampshire area, other precautions
By Denise Moran For The Courier-News March 11, 2013 5:36PM
Longtime Fox Valley Saddle Association members Barb Rosenberg (left) and Georgia Tolp, both of Hampshire, display Rosenberg's horse at Rosenberg's farm on Monday. 3/11/13. | Denise Moran~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 13, 2013 6:17AM
HAMPSHIRE — The recent outbreak of the equine herpes virus 1 has caused the Fox Valley Saddle Association at 44W300 Rohrsen Road to temporarily lock down its facility.
The association’s website stated Monday: “In light of the recent outbreak of the EHV-1 in Gurnee and the subsequent quarantine of that facility, the Fox Valley Saddle Association board held an emergency meeting on Friday evening, March 8. Based on the information available, it was decided that it is in the best interest of the association and the horse community to lock down our facility until further notice. We will be re-evaluating the situation at our next board meeting on March 21 and will notify members of any changes. The gate locks were changed on March 8, and neither the indoor arena nor the clubhouse will be in use. At our March 21 meeting, we will determine if it is prudent to reopen the grounds.”
“There have been several confirmed cases of EHV-1 at a barn in Gurnee,” Laura Cherry at Merritt & Associates Equine Hospital in Wauconda said Monday. “Two of these horses have been euthanized. Other horses, which developed fevers, were started immediately on antipyretics (fever reducers) and antivirals. None of the horses started on this protocol have become neurologic. Horses that had developed neurologic symptoms are all improving at this time. No other cases outside of the barn in Gurnee have been reported.”
According to veterinarian Dr. Robert Wise of Robert Wise Limited in Elgin, the EHV-1 virus occurs in horse populations worldwide.
“It has been around since I began my practice in 1966,” Wise said. “At that time, it was not as well-identified. It can cause abortions in pregnant mares. It can also cause mild encephalitis in some horses. It’s a tough one to fight.”
While a horse normally has a temperature of 99 to 100 degrees, a fever of 101 should prompt the owner to have the horse checked out, he said.
Some northern Illinois barns are exercising extra precautions by asking its horse boarders to change their shoes, clothes and gloves before and after they go into the barn.
When asked if the virus could be carried by humans on their hands or clothing, Wise said it would have to be a quick transfer from human to horse. Changing gloves and washing hands is a good precaution, he said.
The Fox Valley Saddle Association had planned to hold a spring consignment auction at its facility this coming Sunday, before the facility was locked down. The auction of horses, tack and equipment would have been the association’s first 2013 event. The auction may be rescheduled.
Barb Rosenberg of Hampshire has been a longtime member of the association. She said the association currently has a membership of around 120 families. Members do all of the work at the facility.
“Every fall, we have a training program for fire and police officials to train them on how to handle horses,” Rosenberg said.
Georgia Tolp of Hampshire is another longtime member. She has two quarter horses — Toucha Hollywood and Pure Sass O Lena, or simply Holly and Sassy. She said it is unfortunate that members will not be able to use the association’s indoor arena at this time.
“This month is the start of the show season,” Tolp said. “People use the arena to exercise and work their horses because it’s muddy outside right now.”
The association celebrates its 10th year at its Hampshire facility in 2013. It was founded in 1946 by a group of about 70 people who met to charter their club as the Fox River Valley Saddle and Harness Association. The group had previously been meeting since 1938 with an emphasis on family and trail rides, picnics, impromptu horse shows, and social functions.
The association’s first rodeo was held in 1947 at the South Street Stable in Elgin. Its first open horse show was held in 1949 on the Wing Park baseball field in Elgin.
In 1951, the association purchased its first facility along Route 58 just east of Route 25 in Elgin. In 1952, the association became known by its current name.
The association outgrew its five acres along Route 58. Since developers wanted the land, they exchanged it for property along Bowes Road in Elgin in 1970. Over the years, members completed a steel barn and built a stall barn and wash rack. In 1996, the association celebrated its 50th anniversary with 100 family and 300 individual memberships.
In 2003, developers once again wanted to build on the association’s site. An agreement for the land was reached, and the Hampshire site was established the same year.
For more information on the association, visit www.fvsa.org.