World class dressage rider Shannon Dueck had high hopes when she shipped her prize Dutch Warmblood Korona to Italy for a show in the spring in 2004. It was an important preparation for the Athens Olympics, Shannon’s ultimate goal that year. She had purchased Korona as a three-year-old in 1995 and horse and rider learned under the watchful eye of trainer Burt Rutten. Dueck said that Korona was her “first really good dressage horse.”
Competing for Canada, which is where she grew up, Shannon won a Silver Medal with Korona in the 1999 Pan American Games and in 2002 he qualified for the finals at the World Equestrian Games. Dueck had her eyes on an Olympic medal in Greece in 2004.
In May, Korona was flown from Florida to Amsterdam, and then was transported to Milan, Italy by horse van. “A couple days after we were there, he had to be jogged to show that he was sound and fit for competition,” she says. “After that, he started running a temperature. He soon came down with lymphangitis, painful swelling in the hind leg that is often caused by infection. For three weeks, he was on IV-antibiotics.”
Dueck was heartbroken. Not only was Korona unable to compete in Italy, but Canadian rules required him to qualify in the Olympic Selection Trials back in Canada. Korona couldn’t be stressed or shipped until he was healthy, and it was too late to get him back to North America. The crisis destroyed Dueck’s dream of Olympic competition.
“I don’t know how he got sick or where he got sick,” says Dueck today. “I just know that he got really sick, and it messed up our entire program for him.”
Professional riders like Dueck know that top-class animals like Korona endure a lot of stress when shipping and can be vulnerable to sickness when placed in a new environment. Korona had previously traveled to Sweden and to Spain without incident, but was victimized by a virus he picked up in Italy.
Linda Kern of Florida has found herself in similar situations while showing miniature horses, a sport that has captivated her for more than two decades. She travels to shows around the United States and has encountered some horrible stall conditions when arriving at some show facilities.
“Often there have been all kinds of animals in the stall before you get there,” Kern says. “Your horse might be assigned a stall previously occupied by a sick horse or even by cows or sheep—-who knows what animals have been in that stall before you arrive with your horse?”
Over the years, she’s had to put her horses in stalls that “weren’t fit for man or beast” and she tried to protect her horses by treating the stall surfaces with bleach. She soon realized that wasn’t a good answer to the problem.
Kern is an enthusiastic user of Stall Safe, saying, “It’s so nice to have a product you can spray on the walls to protect your horses. You work all year long to prepare for big shows and to gather the points you need to compete, and it’s a heart-break to miss a show because of sickness.”
She recalls shipping her miniature horses to a show in Florida, only to watch them develop runny noses and start to wheeze within 24 hours. She completely withdrew one horse from competition. “I know my horses got sick there at the show because I’d been working with them every day and they were healthy before they shipped to the show facility,” she said.
Once at a show in Texas, Kern noticed that her horses started to cough halfway through their stay. She sought help from a local veterinarian and managed to get her horses through the competition.
“We sure didn’t do as well as we should have done at the show,” she said. “When we got home, the horses were all sick. I’m sure it’s from something that they picked up at that show.”
Kern continues to show her beloved “minis” and now plans to travel to show with Stall Safe.
“It’s comforting to know that you can disinfect a stall before spreading your shavings and putting your horse in the stall,” she said. “It’s like giving your horse a head start during the show season.”
It’s often impossible to determine exactly where a horse picks up a virus, but being in an environment previously occupied by sick horses is a common cause. That’s why horse owners and trainers are enthusiastic about the new product Stall Safe, a spray disinfectant from Absorbine Animal Health Care Products. It is an alternative to commonly-used most chemicals, including bleach, ammonia, iodine, and pine cleaners. Stall Safe has an easy-to-use motorized applicator and can be used to disinfect stalls, barns, horse trailers, and utensils.
Stall Safe is broad spectrum and works against Salmonella Enterica, Staphylococcus Aureus, and Streptococcus Equi. It is effective against Avian Influenza A/Turkey/Wisconsin, Equine Herpes Virus Type I, Equine Influenza A, Canine Distemper, Canine Coronavirus, Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis, Infectious Laryngotracheitis virus, Newcastle disease virus, Porcine Respiratory & Reproductive Virus, Porcine Rotavirus, Pseudorabies Virus, Transmissible Gastroenteritis, (Evaluated and found to be effective in the presence of 5 percent blood serum.)
Absorbine® products are available nationwide in tack shops, farm supply stores, and catalogs. For a dealer near you or for more information, visit the Absorbine® website at www.absorbine.com. The company is recognized as a worldwide leader in innovative, specialized health care brands that enhance the quality and enjoyment of life for families and their pets. Visit www.absorbine.com for more information.
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