A host of horse-related events scheduled throughout the state over the next few weeks have been canceled Tuesday as the result of the Equine Herpes Virus-1 outbreak.
Horse-training facilities throughout Utah also took measures to isolate themselves from outside horses until they can feel assured that the outbreak has run its course.
At the Universal Equestrian Center in West Bountiful, a 77-acre facility that boards more than 100 horses year-round, trainers and horse handlers met Tuesday to approve an action to keep all outside horses out of the facility and all horses boarded inside there until the end of the month.
"We can still work our horses here if they are not exposed to something else," said Jim Montgomery, a trainer who works out of the center and specializes in reining and working cow horses.
"Nobody wants anybody to panic," he said. "We just want to work this out reasonably so we protect our animals from contracting the disease as well as we can."
He and his staff also took care Tuesday to keep horses from touching each other, especially in the nose and facial areas, and to keep from working them until they were too tired.
Montgomery's advice was for horse owners to leave their horses where they are now for a few weeks.
"Everyone needs to keep their horses home until we figure out what we got, and listen to the vets and do what they say," he said.
Montgomery said he feared widespread consequences for a lack of care in addressing this problem.
"Our whole livelihood is at stake," he said of the horse industry, which is worth billions of dollars annually.
But he said the industry is more than its net worth.
"All of the work and the blood, sweat and tears to achieve something for your customers and yourself, how do you replace that?" he said. "It's priceless."