The FEI has confirmed that the driving event scheduled in Les Haras du Pin in France on 11 July has been cancelled due to an outbreak of Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) in the area.
EVA is a viral disease that is spread by breeding activities (a stallion spreads the virus through the semen), but can also infect susceptible horses via the respiratory route. The disease is characterized by fever, edema (swelling) and by abortion in pregnant mares. Movement restrictions in the departments of Eure and Orne have been enforced. Horses in the center at Val de Reuil, where the infection surfaced, have been isolated.
Further investigations are ongoing. Horse owners planning to travel in the areas involved should update themselves on any movement restrictions in place.
Blogger note: Normandy, as you may recall from your World War II history, is a province in France northwest of Paris on the coast below The Netherlands. Its beautiful beaches were the site of the “D-Day” invasion in June 1944.
Several of France’s leading racetracks and training centers are located there, along with CIRALE, the diagnostic testing and research center for lameness and biomechanics run by the French government and the national veterinary college. Horses from all over France ship there to be examined by the famous locomotion expert, Dr. Jean-Marie Denoix.
In addition, France’s leading nationally-owned stud farm is Normandy’s famed Haras du Pin (literally “stable at Pin”, the village name). Known affectionately as “The Versailles of Horses”, Haras du Pin is the national stud for the Percheron breed; the area is sometimes called La Perche.
Haras du Pin is a stallion station; there must be 30 or more Percheron stallions housed there in supreme luxury, plus other breeds. EVA at Pin would be a catastrophe, so it is easy to see why they would cancel the driving event. However the area is still a very active place for horses of all types.
Also nearby is the famed French racecourse at Deauville, which is comparable to Saratoga or Del Mar in the USA. In summer, Deauville becomes Europe’s epicenter of flat and jump racing: the beautiful seaside track hosts four international Group 1 races during August alone. The training center there is home to almost 600 horses in August (in Europe, racehorses do not stable at the tracks, but are vanned there on the day of the race), and it is the site of France’s mid-August yearling sales. The countryside around Deauville is home to 75 stud farms.
EVA is one of the most dreaded and feared equine viral diseases.