The alarm over an equine herpes outbreak that began last month in Utah and crept to nine other Western states—and recently canceled horse shows in Northern California—is now nothing more than a mild concern for Santa Barbara ranchers and event organizers. According to Earl Warren Showgrounds CEO Scott Grieve, both the upcoming Arabian Horse Show and National Horse Show will go ahead, and Fiesta planners said there’ll be no impact on this year’s four-legged festivities.
The disease, highly contagious between animals but not transferable to humans, causes fever, fatigue, and disorientation. It is often fatal. There are 21 confirmed cases of horse herpes in California—the closest to Santa Barbara pinpointed in Ventura and Kern counties—but the outbreak is close to full containment and there are no restrictions on horse movements between states.