OGDEN -- With a Friday announcement that the annual Salt Lake City Days of '47 All Horse Parade is canceled, there is speculation that Ogden's Pioneer Days Horse and Hitch parade could fall to the same fate brought on by a scare of transmitting equine herpes virus, EHV-1.
Parade Director Tracy Smith said he's not planning at the moment to cancel the event, set for July 18, but he's reserving that decision for his event committee that meets June 9.
And he believes that decision will be based somewhat on feedback they get from potential parade participants.
"If I get people telling me that they aren't coming, we will take it into consideration of not holding it," Smith said.
Last week, Smith sent out mailers to last year's parade participants asking for this year's entries. The mailers included both Smith's home phone number and his cell phone number.
"I wouldn't mind hearing what they think," Smith said. "As of today, I'm still planning on having it until we talk to the state veterinarian and get the public input."
Smith also asked that his personal cell phone number, 801-388-3253, be published with this article along with an invitation for Top of Utah residents to voice their opinion about whether or not to hold the event.
But Smith said the decision also would be based on a recommendation from the state veterinarian.
As of Thursday, Utah's State Veterinarian Bruce L. King was recommending that Utah horse events continue as planned.
"No events to date have been canceled by this office and we are now recommending that any and all equine events continue, as the threat of spread of EHV-1 virus at these events is now minimal," he stated on his website Thursday.
King is quoted on the site as stating that Utah currently has seven quarantined private locations.
There are one each in Box Elder, Davis, Kane and Salt Lake counties and three in Utah County.
He stated that Utah has experienced eight confirmed cases of the disease and 13 suspect cases at these locations.
To date, he states, two of the Utah cases were humanely euthanized after the horses went down and were unable to return to their feet.
While not all horses that become ill get a neurological form of the disease, those who do generally have to be euthanized, states information from the Utah State University Extension Service.
A horse that was exposed to horses at one of the quarantine premises has tested positive for EHV-1 after having an elevated temperature, King stated.
Besides this horse, all other sick animals in Utah are believed to have contracted the disease during the April 29-May 8 National Cutting Horse Association's Western National Championship in Ogden.
On his website, King recommended continuation of horse events along with a precaution to show managers that they ask participants to verify that their horses are not sick and to follow proper biosecurity measures such as not sharing watering buckets or tack.
"It should be emphasized that disease organisms are routinely present in any population of animals and that following proper biosecurity will provide the best protection for all horses at an event," King posted on his website Thursday.
The EHV-1 scare has been cause for numerous cancellation of equine events throughout the United States and Canada.
One of the latest to fall victim to horse owners' concerns was an annual Pony Express Re-Ride that runs each June from Sacramento, Calif. to St. Joseph, Mo., following the original Pony Express route.
That event, originally planned for June 8-18, is rescheduled for August.
But one horse event planned for next week will go on as planned.
It's the Utah High School Rodeo Association state finals rodeo in Heber City planned for Wednesday through Saturday.
"We are asking all members to take necessary precautions in using proper sanitary measures of maintaining your animals and equipment before and during the State Finals," stated a memo that went out to all members.
"Please do not share buckets, tack, grooming tools, etc. as should always be the safe practice in caring for your horse's health as well as others," it stated.
The memo went on to state that officials at the Wasatch County facility where the event is held have taken precautions in readying their facility for use, including voluntarily shutting down their facility until the event begins and disinfecting the facility and all stalls before and after the rodeo.