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The IRHA/NRHA Futurity has once again been rescheduled. In 2018, the Level 4 Open Champions were Spook Sunburst and Bernard Fonck. • Photo by Andrea Bonaga.

EHV-1 Outbreak in Europe Derails IRHA/European Futurities

The combined Italian Reining Horse Association (IRHA) Futurity and European Futurity shows have been postponed again due to an outbreak. This time, it’s because of a disease in horses.

Officials reported Monday the IRHA Futurity show, which is typically held in November but had been pushed back to this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic in humans, will be moved back another month due to an outbreak of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) in horses.

The NRHA released the following announcement:

“Considering the high number of horses and riders entered in the event and the necessary priority of preserving the health of athletes and horses, as well as respecting and applying the protocols imposed by International and National Federations with the aim to contain the EHV-1 (Equine Herpes Virus) contagion, IRHA and NRHA European Executive Boards, together with the Italian Equestrian Sport Federation (FISE), have made the decision to move the IRHA and NRHA European Futurity to May 1-8 2021 (horses may arrive on April 29).”

Officials say this was necessary in order to facilitate the organizers in putting in place protocol procedures for the prevention of the contagion so as to safeguard the high number of horses and riders entered in the most important national sporting event.

Per the protocol, upon arrival it will be mandatory to present a negative EHV-1 nasal PCR swab. This must have been taken no more than four days prior to arrival at the event. 

In addition, the Italian Reining Horse Association says it has suspended all reining competitions on the Italian territory until May 9. They will resume after the Italian Futurity and the European Derby.