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  • 03/15/2021 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    From: E.S. Rusty Ford, Equine Operations Consultant
    Date: March 15, 2021

    The additional 24 horses in Barn B of the index EHV1 affected premises, were sampled on Friday due to potential exposure of indirect transmission (riders) having occurred prior to confirmation of the index case. Two horses from this group had a trace amount of EHV-1 DNA detected in the nasal swab and were removed from the barn and segregated on Saturday.

    To date, 18 horses in index Barn A and 22 horses in Barn B have had one set of negative test (nasal swab and/or blood) . The last febrile horse was removed from Barn A and placed in isolation on March 10, 2021. There have been no clinical horses in Barn B since the start of the outbreak.

    Five of the nine horses in the isolation barn have tested positive with the last fever reported on Friday March 12, 2021. All horses in isolation are being monitored by the attending veterinarian.

    A second round of testing is being planned for the horses in barns A, B and Isolation.

    The management and staff of the premises continue to implement enhanced biosecurity and health monitoring protocols including multiple daily temperature recordings. Additionally, these enhanced measures have been implemented at other sanctioned training facilities in Kentucky.

    Staff from the Office of the State Veterinarian continue to closely monitor the situation.

    Appropriate biosecurity and other safeguards are fully implemented at Turfway Park.

    Updates will continue to be provided as information is learned.

    E.S. Rusty Ford
    Equine Operations Consultant
    Office State Veterinarian
    KY Department Agriculture

  • 03/12/2021 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    From: E.S. Rusty Ford, Equine Operations Consultant
    Date: March 12, 2021

    Results of the PCR testing conducted on samples collected Thursday were reported Thursday evening and did identify 5 additional EHV1 positive horses (neuropathogenic strain).  Two of the horses had been previously moved to the separate isolation barn, and we did relocate the additional three positive horses to isolation last night as well. With the 5 additional positive horses, our population of potentially exposed horses grew and samples are being collected and submitted from each of those 25 horses later this afternoon with results expected to be available over the weekend.

    Index Case Update: Following a period of stability, the index case rapidly deteriorated and has been euthanized.

    Other Guidance: Clearly, with the multiple ongoing EHV1 events involving multiple breeds, disciplines, and venues; Farms accepting new arrivals are to be reminded the IMPORTANCE of knowing the environment and status of where the horse arriving their farm originated and implementing needed husbandry practices that should include isolation, observation and assessment of the horse to insure healthy horses are introduced to your herd.

    While our investigation of the KY event as well as monitoring of disease events in other states continues, Kentucky State Veterinarian Dr. Katie Flynn and I will be providing further updates as information becomes available.


    E.S. Rusty Ford
    quine Operations Consultant
    Office State Veterinarian
    KY Department Agriculture

  • 03/11/2021 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    From: E.S. Rusty Ford, Equine Operations Consultant
    Date: March 11, 2021

    Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) has been confirmed in a 3yo thoroughbred filly in Woodford County, Kentucky.

    The filly reportedly had a fever on Saturday, and was referred to a veterinary hospital in Lexington Tuesday evening after becoming unstable and ataxic.

    The Kentucky State Veterinarians Office was alerted of the suspected EHV case on Tuesday night and the training facility was placed under restriction pending completion of diagnostic testing.

    PCR Testing conducted at Equine Diagnostic Solutions in Lexington, KY reported the neuropathogenic strain of EHV1 was detected from the nasal swab.

    Animal Health Officials have been present at the facility, previously imposed restrictions remain in place, and 27 exposed horses had samples (nasal swabs and whole blood) collected earlier today and submitted for PCR Testing.

    The horse was reported last night as showing signs of improvement.

    There is no connection to any other EHV1 incidents

    In addition to the affected premises, precautionary measures have been implemented at Turfway Park (live race meet) with all horses shipping in to race being required to stable in the receiving barn – unless trainer has permanently assigned stalls at Turfway.  In addition to adjustment of stabling, biosecurity protocols have been elevated.  The KY State Veterinarians office has personnel onsite examining health documents and coordinating efforts with the Ky Horse Racing Commission’s staff.

    Updates will be provided as information is learned.


    E.S. Rusty Ford
    quine Operations Consultant
    Office State Veterinarian
    KY Department Agriculture

  • 03/08/2021 8:46 AM | Anonymous

    From: E.S. Rusty Ford, Equine Operations Consultant
    Through: Dr. Katie Flynn, KY State Veterinarian/Executive Director
    Date: March 7, 2021

    2021 Occurences of Equine Herpes Virus Type-1
    Kentucky's Perspective and Position Updates: March 7, 2021

    In the past 7 days we have learned of multiple occurrences of EHV1 impacting equine events throughout the world. Additionally, as we are coming to the time of year that we historically see an increase in movement of equine exhibition and racing stock into Kentucky, I want to remind all associated parties that mitigating risk of disease introduction is a shared responsibility that requires commitment from each individual exhibitor, trainer, event managers, facility operators, veterinarians, and animal health officials. Facility managers and the managers of shows/exhibitions planned to be held in Kentucky should immediately review their biosecurity practices and if needed elevate their biosecurity plan to minimize the opportunity of horses having direct or indirect contact with one another.  Indirect contact would include common water and feed sources as well as shared equipment and congregating in common areas. The goal of a biosecurity plan is to prevent the transmission of infectious agents among individuals and the components of a successful program will include cooperation of management, affects the success or failure of the program. Copies of the American Association of Equine Practitioners biosecurity guidelines can be downloaded here or the Equine Disease Communication Centers website. The documents provide good general guidance of practices that should be routinely implemented, and we encourage show managers to share these directions with all exhibitors. Additionally, our office is happy to assist facilities, show management and event veterinarians in evaluating their individual plans and when a need is identified, assist in adopting and implementing a defined plan.

    Florida Status
    I did earlier today speak with the Florida State Veterinarian overseeing the EHV1 investigation and management of the disease incident in Ocala Florida.  As of today, there continues to be a single barn on the Ocala facility with EHV1 cases confirmed by diagnostic testing. The barn remains under quarantine and activity on the premises is being monitored by animal health officials. Equine presenting with evidence or suspicion of illness are being isolated and tested.

    Florida (Marion County)> Kentucky Movement
    We appreciate the proactive action taken by the Florida Department of Agriculture to mitigate further transmission of EHV1. With the epidemiologic investigation still in its early stages, the status of potentially exposed horses unknown, and the potential risk of fomite (human) transmission to other facilities during the days preceding the diagnosis, Dr. Flynn and I both feel we are justified in stipulating that in addition to our normal entry requirements, horses destined to KY from the Ocala area (identified as Marion County) be examined and a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) issued during the 72 hour period preceding the horse's arrival at the KY destination. The examination and issuance of the CVI should be performed by a veterinarian familiar with the individual horse and the environment from which it originates and with confidence the horse has not been recently exposed to a reportable disease. We will continue to monitor the activity in Florida and plan to reevaluate the CVI 72 hour CVI policy during the week ending Sunday, March 21st. 

    KY's EHV Position Statement March 7, 2021

    European Union EHV1 Concerns: Available Testing Options for Importing Horses Importation and Preplanning
    We continue to gather and assess information describing multiple outbreaks of Equine Herpesvirus 1 impacting equine events in several European countries. Reports published yesterday suggest there are now six countries with confirmed cases: Spain, Germany, Belgium, France, Sweden and a case in Qatar that is apparently linked to the European outbreak. 

    USDA announced this past Friday that horses importing through federal quarantine facilities can be sampled while completing quarantine will be allowed to be sampled with those samples sent by permit to a USDA approved laboratory for EHV1 testing by PCR. To schedule and accomplish testing, horsemen should work with their importing broker/agent to arrange for the samples to be collected, submitted, and tested USDA has advised us that results of the testing will be reported and shared before the horse releases from quarantine and that a positive result will not delay release of the animals so long as there is no fever or other symptoms detected. Our horsemen need to pre plan and insure they have suitable space available to isolate and quarantine any horse that is reported positive. After the horse(s) arrives in KY, we will work with the farm and attending veterinarians to better understand as quickly as possible the individual animal's disease status and associated risk it may pose. 

  • 03/04/2021 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    March 3, 2021--Frankfort, KY-

    Kentucky Equine Industry – Information for Sharing

    Earlier this afternoon I had the opportunity to speak directly with Florida Animal Health Officials overseeing the investigation of EHV1 in the Ocala area.  During the conversation I learned that on March 1st  a warmblood mare presented with neurologic abnormalities.  The 8yr old mare subsequently tested positive for EHV1 and confirmed to be affected with EHV-1 neurotropic strain.

    The affected horse was removed from the premises and placed in isolation.  The premises the mare had been stabled at was placed under quarantine with strict monitoring of the exposed population and heightened biosecurity measures implemented.  In addition to the affected premises, my understanding tonight is that heightened biosecurity practices and animal monitoring has been put in place and being practiced at show facilities in Ocala as well as the Wellington facilities.  I have also had conversations with practitioners currently working in those environments and they too conveyed to me the biosecurity and health monitoring practices that are in place.

    With the protocols currently implemented and monitoring by Florida’s Animal Health officials , we (Dr. Katie Flynn and I) feel there is no immediate elevated threat to our populations here in KY and that at this time there is no need nor benefit to impose additional restrictions on movement from the Ocala area.  We do though remind our horsemen the importance of knowing the environment and health status of new arrivals, and take necessary precautions before introducing new horses to resident horses.  

    In addition to the Florida event, we have also been gathering and assessing information relative to an escalating EHV1 disease event affecting sport horses in Europe.  The outbreak is reported to have originated in Valencia Spain with subsequent events in France, Belgium and Germany, collectively impacting equestrian events throughout Europe.  Published reports suggest National veterinary authorities in each country are working with the FEI Veterinary Departments in a coordinated effort to investigate, manage and bring under control the disease events with the National Federations providing needed support.  As of tonight there has not been any international movement restrictions put in place by USDA’s Veterinary Services Department.

    We will continue to monitor progression of the investigations and will keep you apprised of developments and any strategies that may be needed to mitigate risk to our horses and industry here in Kentucky.

    E.S. Rusty Ford
    Equine Operations Consultant
    Office State Veterinarian 
    502/782-5901 office

  • 01/28/2021 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Kentucky Horse Council Member,

    The equine industry in Kentucky is in peril—and we need your help to ensure our industry remains vibrant and viable for years to come. Recently the Kentucky Supreme Court made a decision that threatens the future of historical horse racing (HHR), which has been legally operating in the Commonwealth for nearly a decade. Should HHR be banned in Kentucky, every one of us will feel the ramifications of this loss, whether we own show horses, racehorses, pleasure horses or pasture puffs—of if we simply enjoy the equine industry in our great state.

    Though you may not live near the Red Mile, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park, Kentucky Downs or Keeneland, have no doubt: The loss of historical horse racing will affect every one of us--profoundly. Historical horse racing is a vital part of Kentucky’s signature horse industry.  

    • Historical horse racing directly employs over 1,400 Kentuckians
    • More than $52 million has been contributed to the KY general fund though Sept. 30, 2020. HHR funds have also provided financial support to colleges and universities in the state and to equine research, among others
    • Historical horse racing contributes to higher purses, creating a more competitive racing circuit that attracts more horses, owners and trainers to Kentucky; these higher purses have revitalized Standardbred racing in the Commonwealth
    • Historical horse racing keeps Kentucky dollars in Kentucky
    •  Legislators can take action to protect our industry by defining pari-mutuel wagering and reinforcing that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission can only regulate pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing—NOT on any other form of wagering.

    So what can you do? A few things!

    1.  Email your legislators! The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) has made this extremely easy. Simply click on this link, enter a few pertinent details, and KEEP will ensure your message gets through and that your voice is heard.
    2. Virtually attend the Horsemen’s Rally, which will take place at Keeneland on Monday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. This event will host horsemen and state leaders from across KY to show support for HHR. Register for this event here, but note: The deadline to register is Friday, January 29: Horsemen For Historical Horse Racing Monday, February 1st - 6:00 PM Keeneland Racetrack
    3. Make sure your family and friends in the Bluegrass know what’s at stake. The Horse Council will be posting daily facts and statistics on their Facebook page, highlighting just what our vibrant industry brings to the economic table. Please share the posts that speak to you—it’s vital that everyone in our great state understand the ramifications of what will happen if historical horse racing is banned. 

      Thank you for your support of the Kentucky equine industry.

  • 01/27/2021 12:47 PM | Anonymous

    Horsemen for Historical Horse Racing

    An informational session for historical horse racing (HHR) will take place on Monday, February 1 at 6 PM on Zoom


    Please join the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club (KTFMC), February 1st at 6:00 PM from the comfort of your home as horsemen and state leaders from across the state convene in support of historical horse racing (HHR) presented by Breeders’ Cup and Jackson Kelly PLLC.

    The session will feature a panel of state leaders discussing HHR and the state legislature’s efforts. This panel will be led by Representative Matt Koch and will include Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, Representative Adam Koenig, Chairman of House License and Occupations, Senator John Schickel, Chairman of Senate License and Occupations as well as Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Ashli Watts.

    As you know, HHR is under threat following the KY Supreme Court’s ruling that called into question the legality of HHR. Now it is up to the state legislature to take action to preserve HHR and its unparalleled impact on Kentucky’s horse industry.

    The elimination of HHR would not only mean the loss of purse enhancements, 1,400 jobs and more than $1 billion in investment, but also the economic impact that extends through the businesses and individuals that support the industry, including breeders, feed and bedding suppliers, tack and equipment dealers, veterinarians, farm hands, blacksmiths, owners and trainers, among others.


  • 11/30/2020 11:17 AM | Anonymous

    eBay Auction Created to Support and Protect Kentucky’s Signature Industry

    November 30, 2020 -- Lexington, KY – The Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) has launched an online auction to raise needed funds for the 501c3 nonprofit. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many charities to reevaluate their fundraising strategies this year and the KHC is no different, having cancelled both its Prosecco for Ponies event and its Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) dinners.

    Hosted on eBay, the auction is now open and will close on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. All funds raised from the online auction will go directly toward funding key welfare initiatives to keep Kentucky horses safe; supporting horse owners in need of temporary financial reprieve of horse-care costs; and awarding scholarships to Kentucky students with an equine-industry focus 

    Auction items include:

    •  Professional drone video of a Central KY farm
    •  Horseshoe plaque from War Front, son of Danzig and a super sire who stands at   Claiborne Farm
    •  Equine feed, supplements, treats and more
    •  Halter from Triple Crown Winner Justify, who stands at Coolmore America
    •  Box seats at the 2021 Keeneland Spring or Fall race meet
    •  Authentic oak wine barrel from Equus Run Vineyards in Midway, KY
    •  Tickets for four to a Horse Country Experience
    •  Tour and wine tasting for 10 at Equus Run Vineyards in Midway, KY
    •  Prints of Thoroughbred racehorses Wise Dan, Afleet Alex, Barbaro and more
    •  Books, artwork, notecards and more
    •  Equestrian-themes gift baskets for horses and humans

    Auction items can be viewed and bid on at 

    Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Kentucky Horse Council, a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization dedicated, through education and leadership, to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community. For more information, visit

  • 11/23/2020 2:01 PM | Anonymous

    $1,000 To Be Awarded to a Deserving Student Pursuing an Equine Career

    November 23, 2020 -- Lexington, KY – Dinsmore & Shohl’s Equine Law Group announced today their intention to sponsor one of the Kentucky Horse Council’s $1,000 scholarships for 2021. Each year, the Kentucky Horse Council offers scholarship funds to students attending a Kentucky college, university or trade school in the pursuit of an equine-associated career. Applications are currently being accepted for the Spring 2021 semester.

    The $1,000 Dinsmore & Shohl Scholarship will be awarded to a student who is currently enrolled or who will be enrolled for the Spring 2021 semester. Applicants must be participating in equine-oriented classes or equine programs that focus on preparing students for careers in the equine industry. If no major or minor is offered, students must be able to demonstrate how they plan to use their area of study within the equine industry.

    “We’re very excited to offer this scholarship to a deserving student,” says Kerry Irwin, a partner with Dinsmore & Shohl and a Kentucky Horse Council board member. “Cultivating the future of the equine industry and educating equine enthusiasts is a passion for me and for my firm. We are grateful for the opportunity to support both students and the Kentucky Horse Council during such a challenging year.”

    Some Kentucky schools that offer equine-focused programs include: Asbury University, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, the Kentucky Equine Management Internship program, Kentucky Horseshoeing School, Midway University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, the North American Racing Academy (part of the Bluegrass Community & Technical College), Northern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky University, among others. Examples of courses of studies for which the scholarships are intended include equine science, equine management, equine business, equine-assisted therapy, pre-veterinarian, national farrier training program, equine industry workforce certificate and others. 

    Applications for the scholarship will be accepted until December 11, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be announced on January 4, 2021.

    To download the Kentucky Horse Council scholarship application, visit

  • 11/09/2020 3:06 PM | Anonymous

    November 9, 2020 – Lexington, KY – In an effort to continue to provide educational opportunities to equine enthusiasts in Kentucky despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Horse Council’s Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) will be offered virtually on Tuesday, November 17, at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. This meeting, presented by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP’s Equine Law Group, is free and will feature tips and tricks to help horse owners save money while maintaining quality care. Panelists include Krista Lea, Jen Shah and Dr. Jill Stowe, with moderator Stephanie Church.

    Jen Shah, CPA and head of Dean Dorton’s equine practice, will offer insight into potential tax savings and deductions for equine operations. Dr. Jill Stowe, an associate professor in Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, focuses most of her research on equine markets. Dr. Stowe will offer KENA attendees some guiding principles for horse-management decisions and provide insight on how to weigh the economic impacts of these decisions.

    Krista Lea holds a master’s degree in Integrated Plant and Soil Sciences and coordinates the University of Kentucky Horse Pasture Evaluation Program. Krista will offer viewers easy-to-implement strategies to reduce the cost of horse ownership. This hour-long event will be moderated by Stephanie Church, Editor-in-Chief at The Horse Media Group, parent company of The Horse magazine, and Off-Track Thoroughbred magazine.

    All four KENA speakers are avid horse lovers and have been involved in various facets of Kentucky’s equine industry, including management, racing and sport-horse competition, as well as research, education and publishing.

    This event will be held in conjunction with the Kentucky Horse Council’s annual meeting, which will take place on November 17 at 7 p.m., immediately before the KENA event. Pre-registration is required. Find sign-up information for both events at 

    KENA provides an educational and social venue for equine professionals and horse enthusiasts from all disciplines. Organized by the Kentucky Horse Council, KENA provides the opportunity for attendees to share ideas, business strategies and knowledge; and to obtain up-to-date information on horse and farm management, and on issues affecting the equine industry. KENA is made possible by the generous support of Dinsmore Equine Law Group, WesBanco, Neogen, University of Louisville Equine Industry Program, KESMARC Kentucky, and Equine Land Conservation Resource.

    The November event is presented by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP’s Equine Law Group. Dinsmore & Shohl is a full-service law firm with offices in 23 cities throughout 11 states and the District of Columbia, including Kentucky offices in Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville and Covington.

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