The News From Here

Our Quest #43 April 15, 2003

page 3 - West Nile Virus, Davenports in Endurance


The bad news for Davenport and other horse breeders in the continental United States is that West Nile Viral Encephalitis has occurred in almost every state and in some states at epidemic rates. We are told that it attacks a wide range of animals. With humans it is sometimes serious but it is especially deadly for birds and horses. In some areas such a central Illinois, certain kinds of birds are almost wiped out. Late last fall on a recent trip from Winchester, Illinois, to St. Louis, Missouri—about 60 miles—only one bird was observed. It was a mature bald eagle, probably migrating from northern areas.

The disease is reported to spread from infected birds to mosquitoes which feed on them and from the mosquitoes to other animals upon which they also feed. It is not supposed to be transmissable between horses and humans.

Among Davenport horses from or associated with Craver Farms we know of six confirmed and three probable West Nile deaths in 2002, and another already in 2003. Others have had the disease and recovered. Among a small group of horses such as the Davenports are, the number of West Nile deaths is a major loss, eliminating more mature breeding stock than results from a very good year of foal production. Whatever guides this disease is a better judge of horses than is found at most horse shows, because some of the ones lost so far were among the best individuals in Davenport breeding of the current decade.

A vaccine for horses is distributed by Fort Dodge Animal Health. It appears to give considerable protection, but some vaccinated horses still get sick & some of these die.

We were fortunate. Riposte CF had a rough time with WNV last fall, but seems to have made a complete recovery.

Wherever this disease appears, it is going to affect the horse industry very seriously. At the present time, considerable protection is available through vaccination. Vaccination requires a course of two shots, separated from each other by three to four weeks. Full protection is present three weeks after the second shot, so the time lag in protection is at least six weeks from the initial shot. It is probably a good idea to begin vaccination at least six weeks before mosquito season.

One of the difficulties of this disease is that not much seems to be known about it. There is no concensus as to how it should be treated. No one knows for sure how effective the vaccine really is, and one wonders whether the vaccine will have any effect upon unborn foals and whether vaccine immunity is transmitted from mares to their foals via colostrum. A number of experts call for booster shots following the initial immunization, but there seem to be several opinions about how this should be done.

In the past, the main forms of encephalitis in this country were the Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan varieties. Actual incidence of these diseases was rather low, and there was question as to whether vaccination was cost effective. The West Nile Encephalitis is a different matter. It is deadly. The infection is widespread. It is not to be fooled with.


W. L. (Bill) Munson, DVM, was one of the most charismatic Arabian horsemen of this country: breeder of superb horses, the best of our show judges, importer, nationally recognized pedigree expert, practicing veterinarian, rancher, and a person with a laugh, a gift of gab, and a sense of humor which charmed everyone.

Bill Munson was a friend and mentor of this writer. Like his friend Alice Payne, he was generous in sharing his time and thoughts with a beginner.

Bill saw the Davenport horses from time to time, and we talked about them. The gist of what he said was that he liked the horses but that he would not know for sure about them until a Davenport horse had won an endurance ride.

Well, Bill, in whatever part of Heaven you are, we want you to know that Davenport horses are doing fine in endurance. We invite your attention to this letter from Linda Sherill. Linda owns Davenports. She is a seasoned endurance competitor with them. She writes:

"DAVENPORTS AND ENDURANCE: Jeanie Miller's horse Rubato CF finished his first ride in September in the White River Ride in ... Michigan. He's going to be a contender.


Rubato CF (by Regency CF x Bonne Terre CF, and otherwise known as "Rowdy") with Jeanie Miller. Moving right along on his second trail ride, late in 2001.

"My mare Artemisia is still doing rides and will be out again in 2003. Prelude CF is on loan to a friend in Arizona and is doing great. Just finished Silver State ride on Friday after Thanksgiving...



Patty Danley and Prelude CF (Pericles x Praline) on the trail in Arizona. Photo: Off the Beaten Track.


"Crucian (Shelley Dake's horse by Athanor x Perception GCA) is top 10 in the country (Currently #8) for endurance for 2002. They just returned from a ride in South Carolina and that cinched it up for him. He is also Purebred Arabian champion for 2002 for the Arabian Horse Distance Riding Association. (affiliated with IAHA) Yippie! We are so proud of them.

Shelley Dake, Crucian and friend after a ride. We don't want to know what they are doing! Crucian, affectionately known as "Cruiser," was bred by Dave & Sara Jones of Grove Creek Arabians.

"These horses are awesome endurance horses! I'd sure like to see more Davenports out there! Breeders??? Any prospects you'd like to see on trail??? Crucian and Rubato are on trail because their owners saw other Davenports on trail and were so impressed with them. My contention, as always, is that these horses deserve to be used! They're so much FUN to ride!"


Back to Our Quest #43 Introduction

back to page 2 - Bertha Craver, Poetry Corner

to page 4 - 2002 Al Khamsa Convention, Conservancy Gathering

to page 5 - Davenport Projects

to page 6 - Skull-duggery

Back to Main News Page