Your Turn: Why Quarantine Is Critical

New horse? Kristen Pierce explains why not to skip quarantine.

Looking to get a new horse? Please quarantine correctly.

A private rescue has taken in several horses from a well-known broker lot and all of them are sick. Upon arrival, strict quarantine procedures are being carried out to contain the illnesses so the horses can recover and so that other horses don’t become infected.  With an increase of broker-owned programs and auction sales, use caution and be responsible.

It doesn’t matter where you buy your horse from — high-end sales barns to kill pens — look up the protocol for correct quarantine procedures and do as it says. If you’re confused or have questions, need or want suggestions or advice, ask for help — I’ll be happy to help in any way I can. Ask your vet. Ask someone who understands QT to help you.

One of four horses taken in by Sondra Fallon of Creekside Equestrian. Photo by Sondra Fallon.

One of the four horses recently taken in from the broker lot. Photo by Sondra Fallon.

Many good-hearted, well-intentioned people are pulling horses from these programs and auctions, yet they are not going through legitimate quarantine. Maybe it’s because they just don’t know or realize how dangerous and detrimental it is to not quarantine?  Maybe there’s too much time involved or too much work? It will be a lot more work and heavier vet bills to pay if your horse does fall ill, or even worse, if your horse infects another animal. Here’s a quick little recap of a personal experience I had years ago:

The now defunct “rescue” my horse came from never properly quarantined. They pulled horse after horse and never separated them. That “rescue” lasted six months before they were shut down. At the end of those six months, all fifteen horses were sick and three died. I wasn’t even allowed to bring my horse home for two months even with three negative strangles tests. So I didn’t. As much as I wanted him here, I wasn’t going to jeopardize the health of my horse community.

Let my story be a wake up call. This is serious. This is about ensuring the safety and health of your horse community and preventing an epidemic. There is no magic drug, antibiotic or holistic remedy to clear your horse from a proper QT. There are NO exceptions. Quarantine is a minimum of THIRTY (30) DAYS which is the incubation period of most highly contagious illnesses. Not a week, not two weeks, not “he was healthy so we let him out of QT early”, and definitely not “he wasn’t around any sick horses”. You do not know what sick horse was standing in the same spot your horse was prior to him being there or drinking out of the same unwashed bucket leaking his abscess fluid in or dripping his snots in.

Noelle, an 18-year-old Standardbred mare recently rescued. Photo by Sondra Fallon.

Noelle, an 18-year-old Standardbred mare recently rescued. Photo by Sondra Fallon.

A visual image of the location of Noelle's quarantine barn. Photo by Sondra Fallon.

A visual image of the location of Noelle’s quarantine barn. Photo by Sondra Fallon.

I am begging you all to keep your horse community safe. Be diligent, be strict, be educated. Don’t fall victim to cutting corners or caving in to someone’s speech about how your horse doesn’t need quarantine and that “he’ll be fine” or “it won’t happen to your horse” or “he’s healthy so he doesn’t need quarantine”. Don’t make irresponsible decisions and don’t be the person who makes a poor decision that results in another horse (potentially several horses) getting sick.

If even one person is reminded just how serious this is, then I have done my part.

Need some guidelines to follow for correct and safe quarantine? Check out this article from Equine Wellness Magazine.

If anyone is interested in helping the sick horses that were taken in by Sondra Fallon of Creekside Equestrian, part of Northeast Private Rescue Network, please contact Sondra directly at [email protected]. Sondra openly writes, “please note, I am NOT a 501(c)3 charity so donations, while vital, are not tax deductible”.


Kristen Pierce is a versatile equestrian who grew up as a western pleasure rider. Since then, she has expanded her interest in almost everything from (but not limited to) barrel racing, hunter/jumper, eventing and her newest feat, extreme trail. Plainly speaking, her life revolves around her two horses. Kristen’s youngest horse, Ace, who was relinquished from a defunct rescue, is a 5 year old Quarter Horse/Haflinger cross who she’s had since he was yearling.  She also has an 18 year old Quarter Horse Paint gelding named Sonny, who is living a luxurious, well-earned retirement. Kristen is also a huge rescue advocate for all animals.

Kristen with her horse Ace. Photo by Rachel Morgan Photography.

Kristen with her horse Ace. Photo by Rachel Morgan Photography.

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