Hold your horses: Why most horses will be banned from Horse Expo


It's a case of no one wanting to be accused of closing the barn door after the horse has left the building. The Minnesota Horse Expo, scheduled for April 25-27, will ban most horses this year because of a contagious lethal virus that has been reported in parts of Minnesota, western Wisconsin and northern Iowa.

FOX 9 reports that the outbreak began near the end of March, and so far, at least 9 horses have contracted a neurological form of equine herpes virus-1 (EHV-1). Three of them have been put down as a result.

The Horse Expo, held annually at the State Fair, is scheduled to begin just as a voluntary horse lockdown ends. Veterinarians called for a quarantine to halt the spread of the disease and recommended that no horses be moved or intermingled for at least two weeks from the last positive case of equine herpes. That voluntary quarantine concludes as the Horse Expo is scheduled to open, which means there will be 300 empty stalls in barns on the fairgrounds. Organizers are limiting the number of show horses due to the outbreak.

The Horse Expo Facebook page has a statement signed by the Expo's board of directors and staff. It reads in part, that the board "has decided to limit the horses coming to the Expo to PRCA rodeo stock and participants, Ma’Ceo horses, clinician presentation horses, and the pony and wagon ride horses. Breed and registry groups, private farms and stables will NOT be bringing horses to Expo, but may set up informational displays in the Horse Barn."

The statement goes on to note that "bio-safety measures will be taken before and during the Expo to safeguard the health of the limited horses that will be allowed at the event." It adds that a health certificate with temperature recorded on the document from an accredited veterinarian will be required for horses coming to Expo.

Access to horses by the visiting public will be restricted or not allowed at all. The highly-contagious virus has no effect on people but since humans can spread the disease, the Expo's management will request that everyone who attends wash their hands before, between and after handling horses. Petting the horses that are on site will be forbidden and the Expo will offer hand sanitizer and foot baths at the entrance and exit of the barns.

The Minnesota Horse Expo says that it brings together some 400 vendors who offer horse-lovers a variety of products, information and services and educational presentations.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the Midwest Horse Fair, held in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend, initiated precautionary measures to thwart the spread of the disease, but did not ban horses from attendance. Experts told Fox 9 News that the event was though to be far enough away from the outbreak to preclude such precautions.

Last month, Examiner.com noted several Midwestern events were canceled or postponed by the virus, including barrel racing events in Minnesota and the American Competitive Trail Horse Association's obstacle challenge at the Tomah, Wisconsin Saddle Club.

Next Up

Merwin Liquors

Liquor store that has become shooting hotspot seeking to move

The area surrounding Merwin's Liquors has been beset by crime in recent years.

Mohamed Noor

Ex-Minneapolis cop Noor resentenced to 57 months in prison

Justine Ruszczyk Damond's fiancé said he forgives Noor.

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards was right: he is Houdini and his bag of tricks is incredible

Edwards put the entire league on notice with his season-opening performance.

Bob Fletcher

New 'public service' charter school backed by Ramsey Co. Sheriff to open

Efforts to open the school were spearheaded in part by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.

covid-19 testing site sign

Minnesota to offer free COVID rapid testing at 9 more sites

Three new rapid testing sites opened in Minnesota this week.


Elvis Costello cancels Mystic Lake show, will play vax-requiring First Ave instead

Those who bought tickets to Mystic Lake will be refunded, and need to buy new tickets.


23 Minnesotans infected with salmonella linked to onions

Four of Minnesota residents were hospitalized. None have died.

Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves smash Rockets in season opener

The Timberwolves showed they have plenty of firepower in a victory over Houston.

Knuth - Nezhad - side by side

Frey challengers Knuth, Nezhad agree to rank each other 2nd

They're urging supporters to do the same on Nov. 2.

Jerome Horton - Sherburne Co. Jail - CROP

Charges: Man lied to buy gun later used by St. Paul mass shooting suspect

He's accused of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.