Horse virus threatens cutting season

A man trains his horse along the San Gabriel River on July 10, 2004 near the Los Angeles, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson: Well more horse shows around the country were cancelled over the weekend because of a deadly horse virus. In fact the national cutting horse association has cancelled all of its events for the time being.

Marketplace's Stacey Vanek Smith has more now on the economic impact.


Stacey Vanek Smith: Sharon Tullis from Hermiston, Ore., has been cutting for more than a decade.

Sharon Tullis: Cutting is where you go into a herd of cattle, and the object is is to pull a cow out. And you are judged on how well your horse works the cow.

It's big business -- about $40 million in prize money is handed out every year. But since April, a highly contagious virus has killed 12 horses and caused a nationwide shutdown of cutting events.

Brad Smith is the president of the Washington Cutting Horse Association.

Brad Smith: There are number of shows in different disciplines being canceled, so it's had a substantial impact.

No rodeos have been called off, but they're taking precautions, says cutter Sharon Tullis.

Tullis: Canceling one of these rodeos would be like canceling an NFL football game. It's just not as easy as it is to cancel a horse show or a cutting.

Cutting events are scheduled to resume in mid-June if the virus is contained.

I'm Stacey Vanek Smith for Marketplace.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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