The Rio Blanco County Fair is next weekend, August 2nd – 6th at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds in Meeker. As always the weekend before the official fair there is the Fair Team Roping and the Horse Show. These are both events that are great fun for the participants and always draw a large number of competitors.
What this means though, is that there is a large number of horses all converging in one place and with the recent horse viruses it can be a concern to all the horse owners on how to keep their horses safe and healthy. Although there is never any guarantee that your horse will not catch something there are a few things you can do to help make the possibility less.
- Make sure your horse has a current coggins test. For most competitions and horse shows this is a requirement anyway. It is a test that in the state of Colorado is done once a year. It is simple to do and any vet can do it for a fairly small price. Current coggins is also needed to travel across state lines so having one is a good idea even if you aren’t competing at this year’s fair roping or horse show.
- Call your vet to ensure your horse is current on all his shots. There are certain shots that horses need each year and others that they maybe need more or less often. The shots a horse should have can also be determined by where you live and how much contact they have with other horses. For example a horse in Texas may not need the West Nile Virus shot but a horse in Colorado may need it. The Meeker Vet Clinic or the Ashley Valley Animal Hospital or Countryside Vet Clinic can all help you determine what shots are best for your horse and how often they need them. The more contact with other horses your horse has the more shots you may want to get it to ensure it stays healthy.
- Bring your own water container and own water if possible. When competing either in a team roping event, a horse show, or any other competition, your horse is sure to get thirsty. When you have dozens of thirsty horses sharing a water trough it becomes easy for them to spread germs. If you can bring both your own water bucket and your own water you will be assured that you are safe. If you cannot haul the water bring your own trough and find a place to fill it up with clean water. Some competitions have stalls that you may rent overnight for your horse. If you do rent a stall and they provide a water container and food container use your best judgement as to whether it is clean enough to use or if you are better off using your own.
- Bring your own food if the competition is long enough that you will need food. If you live in Meeker and will simply have your horse at the fairgrounds for the day you probably won’t have to worry about food at all. If you live further away though and will be having your horse spend a night in Meeker then you will want to bring your own food.
- Do not share tack with others. This includes not only the obvious like bits and saddles, but also other things like brushes, hoof picks, etc. If you have a friend also at the competition who you know well and know their horses you can chance sharing something if you would like. For sure never share with a stranger though. Chances are that there is no issue and your horse would be fine, but it isn’t a gamble you want to take.
If you have any concerns about your horse’s health stay away from any big gathering such as the fair roping or the horse show with your horse so that you can have a vet check them out. If your horse is doing well though and you are headed out tonight or tomorrow to the fairgrounds be sure to do all you can to keep your horse healthy and good luck competing!