COVID-19 Causes Cancellation of American Quarter Horse Association Convention; Restrictions Placed on Other Equine Events

Coronavirus (COVID-19) NewsDue to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States, the first big horse industry event cancellation has been announced. COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus with the initial outbreak occurring in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Symptoms of this highly contagious virus include fever, tiredness, and dry cough, and sometimes includes aches and pain, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea.

The American Quarter Horse Association announced the cancellation of the 2020 AQHA Convention. The event was scheduled for March 13-16 at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president, announced in the official statement that it was due to concern for the health and safety of both registrants and AQHA staff who would have to travel to the event. Registrants will receive a full refund for registration fees. The South Point Hotel and Casino is waiving room cancellation fees.

Full the full statement from AQHA, visit

Coronavirus Concerns Places Restrictions on Horse Race Meets

In addition to the AQHA Convention cancellation, horse race meets in certain parts of the world are still occurring, but with spectators not allowed to attend. The Emirates Racing Authority announced that spectators were banned from meets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for several days. However, horse racing connections, sponsors, and media would still be able to attend despite the coronavirus concerns.

The Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline, which is the world’s richest horse race at $12 million in purse money, is set to be held on March 28. No announcement has been made on whether spectators will still be allowed or banned at this time.

In addition, on February 27, the Japan Racing Authority announced that all central government-sanctioned horse races would still happen but without spectators due to coronavirus concerns.

As of today, there are more than 100,000 cases worldwide in 100 countries. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has around 755 cases across 36 states and the District of Columbia. There have been 26 total deaths.

Stay tuned to for updates on how the virus impacts the horse industry and for further cancellations of equine events.

Visit for information about the virus within the United States.

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Sarah Evers Conrad is the former Digital Content Editor for Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. During her time at Horse Illustrated, she handled all digital initiatives, cohosted the Horse Illustrated podcast, edited all publications, and oversaw the redesign of the new site. Her career also includes time at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care and the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) Equestrian magazine, before she became USEF’s Director of E-Communications. She also spent time as a content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency before she opened her own business, All In Stride Marketing.Throughout her career, she has been published in equine publications such as Horse Illustrated, The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Driving Digest, American Farrier’s Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Equine Wellness, and Camp Business Magazine. She has also served as the editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine, and for multiple books. Conrad has a BA in Journalism from Western Kentucky University with a double major in Agriculture with an Equine Science emphasis. You can learn more about her at


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