Covid 19 and the EHV-1 Herpes Virus have the entire equestrian world in checkmate.
Follow their evolution shows us their similarities as deadly, unpredictable and mutant viruses from which at times it is possible to recover, while at times they are fatal. Such outcomes are also at times conflicting with tests indicating positivity or negativity. The same process applies to both people and horses. Covid existed in different forms, such as for example SARS, but Covid 19 is different. The Herpes Virus was known in the form of Rhinopneumonia for which there has always been a vaccine that sadly has little effect on this aggressive neurological strain.
Similarities do not end here and as always involve the activities of human beings who set power and business above the lives of the uninformed.
On the 21st February 2020, a first case of Covid in Codogno (North Italy) alarmed the entire village. A week later the Basso Lodigiano region became the first ‘locked down area’ in the world. And yet people said “It’s all right, it’s just a form of flu; a couple of weeks and it will all be over…”, “How can we not go and ski? They won’t be checking our IDs on the slopes…”, “Will they suspend the Atalanta football match in Bergamo? Of course not; of course they will play, then we shall see…”. And we did see. And yet it was all already known, science had already expressed its opinion, those in power knew, those in government knew.
In Valencia, on February 20th classes were being held normally, only to be all suspended the following day. It’s a shame that nobody among the organisers and authorities had in any way warned anyone that since January many of the horses stabled there had been found to have a fever. Complete silence. Then it all happened suddenly. The FEI (fei.org) and IJRC (ijrc.org) websites publish daily updates indicating the number of cases and how they have spread as well as veterinary information. Facts and figures are frightening. As we write, the FEI has suspended all international events until April 11th. Even the FEI World Cup Final has been cancelled, Aachen has been postponed until September. The position assumed by the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation concerning the resumption of national events as of March 22nd, while also postponing a number of important events planned for early April, is not yet entirely clear (March 16, fise.it). And yet Italy is included in the FEI’s list of European countries with confirmed cases. Considering the speed with which things change we shall see what happens next, but judgement and prudence must never change considering that every day there are new reports concerning horses that have been infected or that have died.
(Related articles to pages 18, 22, 28, 58)