Sigurður Sigurðarson farmer at Þjóðólfshagi, usually has many horses in his stables and most often there is a lot of activity there. Eiðfaxi called Siggi in order to inquire about the situation regarding the horse cough which has surfaced in many places.
Eiðfaxi: Siggi, how did the cough start in your stables?
Siggi Sig: I noticed some horses coughing about 5-6 weeks ago. Then a mare, which had recently arrived here, started coughing. We did not quite realize what this was, because we had not heard of any contagious illness going around. It even dawned on me that she was reacting to a special feed I was giving to her, so I stopped feeding it to her. But of course nothing changed. Finally, she was given a doze of penicillin because she had developed a bad cough. This could have helped her.
Eiðfaxi: And other horses started having symptoms?
Siggi Sig: Yes. To begin with I did not think that this was anything serious, but then more horses started coughing and later I heard that this was going on in other stables so evidently this was very contagious. My experience is that this starts slowly, takes about 10 days to reach the peak in the horses after they start having symptoms. The mare I mentioned before was coughing for about 3 weeks. During this time, I kept here inside for the most part and took good care of her, because it was cold outside. When she did not have any symptoms anymore, I gave her time to rest for about two more weeks. Since then I have taken her for a ride about 4-5 times, started slowly and she seemed fine. She is very powerful, not panting and seems full of energy. I hope that she has fully recovered.
Eiðfaxi: Have the horses had temperature?
Siggi Sig: I have not noticed temperature in any of the horses yet. When this is already in your stable, I think it is sensible to be very careful when it comes to training of the horses which have not yet had any symptoms. Almost all the horses seem to have some symptoms; this disease is very sneaky, with a slow start. The horses I was riding until they showed symptoms are having a harder time recovering. There was this horse I took with me to a show at Ingólfshvolur. He was not being himself. He started coughing in the evening and has been very sick, lying down and is not well at all. So it is better to be careful, let the horses have the benefit of the doubt and give them enough time to recover. There is life after Landsmót!
Eiðfaxi: What is next on the agenda?
Siggi Sig: We have rested almost all our horses for almost two weeks and will give them another week of rest. Then, if the weather permits we will let the horses outside, because we believe that warm and fresh air will do them good. If this is the same cough horses get when they are transported abroad, I do not believe that the spring weather will necessarily make them well. We know that horses which are exported during the summer start coughing as well as those who are exported during fall or winter. But the fact is that we still do not know what type of virus this is. In any case this is an experience we can learn from.
Eiðfaxi: What about breeding shows and tournaments?
Siggi Sig: Although this cough has spread very fast for the past weeks, many mroe horses will still get sick. This will happen at a very bad time, although there is no good time for sickness. Clearly, this will have a great impact on shows and tournaments. But this is something that will become clearer as time passes, and it is best to take it easy and take good care of the horses. Better than them getting sick again. Those who were in good shape before should easily get back on track when they have fully recovered. So this is a matter of horse people to show of patience and common sense.
We will conclude with these final words and thank Siggi for the chat, also wishing the horses in Þjóðólfshagi a speedy and safe recovery.