"We wanted riders and owners to be absolutely confident that their horses were safe at The Colorado Horse Park," explained Helen Krieble, founder and president of The Colorado Horse Park. "Our hearts truly go out to the competitors who were planning on showing next week. We are truly sorry for them. However, we want everyone to feel extremely certain about the remainder of the season." Of course, riders who have already entered the CHP Three Day Event and June High Prairie Dressage Show will receive full refunds.
The remainder of CHP's show season will run as scheduled, beginning with the first week of the expanded Colorado Summer Circuit on June 8, 2011. "I am confident that with the additional buffer week, the 2011 horse show season will not only be able to continue, but will be extremely successful," Krieble stated.
One exception to the cancellation will be the Region IX Young Rider Qualifier division of the CHP Three Day Event. Eleven riders were scheduled to run in order to qualify for the 2011 FEI North American Junior and Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC). These 11 riders will have to sign an affidavit verifying the whereabouts of their horses in the preceding weeks, as well as submit to a series of veterinary examinations prior to and during the competition. Krieble explained, "This is the only opportunity these young riders have to qualify for the NAJYRC. For most of them this was a critical competition. We didn't want to take that away from them." In addition, as per the FEI rules, CHP will also hold the two FEI divisions, CCI* and CCI**. The Colorado Horse Park will be following the University of California at Davis-developed protocols for these competitors. Riders competing in these divisions should contact the event organizer, Deeda Randle, for the details.
This is not the first time that CHP has had to implement high-level protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of horses. In both 1995 and 1998, for the Olympic Festival and the North American Young Riders Championships, respectively, the facility had to face Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) outbreaks. The VS outbreaks not only impacted the equine industry, but a wide variety of livestock industries, and were considered a major threat.
"We were very proud to have been the only facility to be named VS-free in the 1995 epidemic of that disease," stated Krieble. "The Colorado Horse Park has always been ahead of the curve where the health and welfare of horses are involved and we continue to be today."
Krieble continued, "This has been an unusual year from the weather to EHV-1, but riders, show managers and facility owners have every reason to be optimistic that the worst is over and the equine world will return to normal in the near future."