Flu Disrupts Horse Shows in Iceland Skip to content

Flu Disrupts Horse Shows in Iceland

A cough is spreading among horses in Iceland, causing delays to the preparation of the national horse tournament this summer. Veterinarian Sigrídur Björnsdóttir urges riders to let their horses rest while they are ill and not take them to shows or competitions.

From an earlier Landsmót, national horse tournament. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The disease hasn’t been analyzed yet but Björnsdóttir said it appears to be a new virus infection which hasn’t been detected in Iceland before and horses therefore don’t have much resistance to it. Bacterial infections often follow, which can lead to fever and mucus, Morgunbladid reports.

“The problem is that horses take a long time to recover and in fact we don’t know for sure how long it takes before they have recovered fully,” Björnsdóttir said. If training begins too early, the horses might relapse, she explained.

“Riders must take this seriously. We have come to discover that this is worse than what we thought at the beginning,” the veterinarian added.

The Landsmót, the biannual national horse tournament, is coming up in Skagafjördur, north Iceland, in late June.

Related shows and tournaments have already begun. The coughing has caused withdrawals from tournaments and also interrupted work at Hólar University and at training centers across Iceland.

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