Deadly horse virus spreads, 34 animals infected

By REBECCA BOONE | May 21, 2011 | 11:59 AM EDT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The number of horses infected with the deadly and contagious Equine Herpes Virus-1 continues to grow. The USDA says the outbreak that started at an Ogden, Utah competition has infected at least 34 horses in nine states and Canada.

That's got some owners, like cowgirl Tricia Lynn Crump, taking extra precautions at the height of show season. Crump, who is Idaho's reigning Miss Rodeo, won't be astride a horse in Nampa's annual Parade America on Saturday. Instead she'll be riding in a stagecoach because she's leaving her own horses at home to keep them safe.

Fewer people are showing up to compete on a professional rodeo circuit, and some horse sales, shows and rodeos are being canceled in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.