Well, EI has finally arrived at Roycroft Stables. My heart sank when Krissy Harris rang me last Tuesday morning to report that they had 6 coughing horses in one paddock that morning. So it was only going to be a matter of time. Fortunately Irish and Jane have had their first vaccination as allocated to EFA Elite/Development Squad horses, so hopefully this will lessen any effects of the virus. So we had been closely monitoring all 19 horses all week, but it is only this morning that there were 2 coughers, oddly enough one broodmare (Eliza Jane's dam, Cracklin' Rosie) who is in a paddock with 2 other mares, who aren't coughing yet, and a 5 year old warmblood dressage mare, Starlight, who is due to be exported to Japan once this is all over. I guess most others will contract the virus in the next 48 hours.
While I am mildly pissed off at being at the end of the queue to get it, at least I feel I can benefit from the acquired knowledge of other sufferers. I am working on the theory that it is similar to human flu in that if one rests and avoids stress, the patients are likely to recover more quickly. Of course I never do that, I take drugs and keep going, which means I always have the flu for months! I'm also not in the financial position to have frequent veterinary visits and antibiotics, so am principally just keeping the horses under close observation, and hope that horsemanship and management skills acquired over the last million years can help. At this point in time, all horses are still eating and drinking well, and all have paddock or large yard access, so they can always get their heads down to clear any mucous or discharge. We'll take temperatures if any of them start looking too crook, and go from there. Two of our agisters, Karine Gouriou and Lee Warneke were up to ride their two horses this morning, and had lessons, and in both cases the horses' temperatures were fine prior to riding (something they have been doing prior to riding for the last fortnight), and no clinical signs while being ridden, and ate up their feed after work, so they are not sick yet! But I have warned both girls that their horses will contract the virus anytime now.
In the meantime Foxtel has been putting on quite a bit of jumping again, with Sruce Meadows being aired quite a lot. This is such a great way to get exposure and coverage for our sport, and it is a professional good coverage that is not costing much at all. So everybody out there, if you have Foxtel, make sure you contact them. I am assured by their program managers that feedback is important, and has helped a lot of sports such as netball gain major prominence. So it only takes about a minute to make a comment in the little feedback box, and send it in! After all, a fair few of us have a lot of downtime at the moment. You can also check on the EFA National website for when equestrian is on, as they have an 'Equestrian on TV' link.
As for me, I have had my first few rides post op, and everything seems to be functioning normally, with all jumping distances coming up just fine, which is a big relief. Just a bummer now that I won't be working anything for the next 30 days, but after that the young horses need to watch out! And if they are coping alright the good guys can come back into work mid November ready for a new year start, all being well...