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Kansas-bound Cusack biding his time in Washington

May 24, 2011

by Neil Clarkson

Kiwi thoroughbred Cusack is enjoying life in his temporary home in Washington state, in a part of the US where the news has not been encouraging for horse owners.

Two of Deb's horses graze a tree-lined paddock.
Horse owners are watching with concern an outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpesvirus-1, a contagious and potentially fatal disease.

Cases appear linked to an event earlier in the month in Ogden, Utah. It appears horses attending the event became infected and returned to their home states with the disease.

In Washington, latest information indicates six horses have tested positive for EHV-1.

Kansas, where Cusack will be going to live with new owner Deb Johnson, has no reported cases of the disease.

Deb is monitoring the situation daily to ensure that Cusack can make the journey with minimal risk.

"Not long now, and Cusack will be winging his way to Kansas," Deb says.

She has already planned his arrival.

"I plan on starting him out living in the well pasture.

"Our water comes from a well here on the property, hence the name, and I have about two acres fenced in for him.

She says Cusack will be able to sniff noses with her other horses over the fence and get acquainted.

"I don't have a proper shelter, just lots of trees for shade, so if it's raining, he'll have to get a quick intro to the herd so he can access the run-in.

"Plans for Cusack are to get him happy, comfortable, add some muscle, and see how he does with a centered riding lesson after he's had some time to settle and we play on the ground.

"If he likes to be ridden in some centered riding lessons, I'll take him to the Brent Graef clinic in July, and then on to some versatility clinics."

After that, Cusack will enter the world of competitive trail riding.

Deb is starting to think of the saddle he will require.

Some media have expressed an interest in being present when Cusack arrives in Kansas, Deb says.

Deb's "well pasture", where it is planned Cusack will spend his first few days in Kansas.



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