CEM Infects U.S. Horses

| 12/23/2008 5:00:00 PM

I was a little disheartened Thursday when I learned that Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) has made its way into the United States and has infected several horses at one farm out East. This is especially surprising because the United States was declared to be CEM free as late as 1998.

American Quarter Horse stallion

Growing up, my family had six horses – one for each member of the family and an old Shetland pony we rode as young boys. We even traded a colt from our best Missouri Fox Trotter for my older brother’s first truck.

Horses were a big part of our family when and where I grew up. Evenings were often spent riding through an area my dad called “the motherland,” in search of deer and other wildlife and always culminating with watching the sun set from the same ridge we’d been to a hundred times before.

Once it was dark, we turned the horses back, and ran them fairly hard back through the motherland towards home, them knowing they were headed for oats and water. I unsaddled many more horses in the dark than during the day, I know that for sure.

For my three brothers and I, horses played a prominent role in our entertainment on the farm, our bond with each other and our bond with our parents.