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New Date Set for AQHA Level 1 Championships

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) West Level 1 Championships will now be held in September. The event planned for April was postponed after horses tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus – type 1 (EHV-1) after another event at the show’s host venue.

The AQHA West Level 1 Championships, which features classes for the association’s grassroots riders, is scheduled for Sept. 25-29 at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, the AQHA announced.

“Many thanks to the Poker Rodeo Association Finals and Ranch Sorting of America, who agreed to move their event to April 23-25, 2020, so that we could reschedule the West Level 1,” AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines said in a statement. “We are grateful they rescheduled their event and excited to still be able to host the 2019 AQHA West Level 1 Championship at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center this year.”

The decision was made to postpone the show after two horses that attended the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes tested positive for a non-neurologic form of EHV-1. A third horse that attended the NRCHA premier event has since tested positive, also for the non-neurologic, respiratory form of the illness.

The EHV-1 virus can manifest itself in horses in a number of ways, including as a respiratory infection or a neurologic condition. Officials say the non-neurological, respiratory form of EHV-1 is similar to the flu in humans.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) said that signs of the neurological form of EHV-1 — which, in severe cases, can result in death — include nasal discharge, incoordination, hind-limb weakness, loss of tail tone, lethargy, urine dribbling, head tilt and the inability to rise. Horses also may lean against a fence or wall to maintain their balance.

The NRCHA has urged horse owners to keep their equines up-to-date on booster shots and monitor their horses’ eating and drinking habits, as well as the animals’ demeanor. Those who handle horses should avoid sharing equipment between horses and, if possible, avoid shared areas at horse shows. Disinfection of shared areas is important.

A reining horse from Texas also tested positive for EHV-1, prompting additional biosecurity measures at the 2019 National Reining Breeder’s Classic in Katy, Texas. Animal health officials have reported EHV-1 positives in several states this spring, as well as in Canada.

 The entry form for the AQHA West Level 1 Championships and more information will be available at Entries for the rescheduled show will be due Aug. 30. Exhibitors will be able to move in on Sep. 23, at noon and classes start Sept. 25. A full tentative schedule for the rescheduled show is coming soon.

“AQHA appreciates Steve Stallworth and the South Point staff and management, in addition to the Poker Rodeo Association Finals and Ranch Sorting of America for their willingness to accommodate the AQHA West Level 1 Championships,” AQHA Chief Show Officer Pete Kyle said in a statement. “We understand the time and effort our exhibitors put into preparing for this show, and we are proud to be able to host it for 2019.”

Exhibitors who were entered to compete at the show in April will be refunded in full for their entries. Refunds will be made in the same payment method that was received.

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