The mare barn at James Lala’s Wellington Quarantine.
Wellington, FL – February 28, 2013 – James Lala makes it his mission to safely and efficiently expedite horses through the quarantine process while providing a rider-friendly facility.
Lala’s Wellington Quarantine keeps all the quarantine horses in permanent stalls, built for safety and functionality. Stallions and mares are kept separate with separate grooming and bathing areas and all the breeding is done well away from the riding areas. There is extra matting, extra high walls and secure doors. There are two rings with all-weather GGT footing, multiple lunging areas, a round pen with extra high walls for safe stallion turn-out as well as grass turn-out.
“When the horses arrive, they’ve been cooped up for travel,” Lala explained. “They are fresh. It could have been three or four weeks since they’ve been ridden and had turn-out. We try to keep things quiet for them. I don’t want a lot of spooky jumps. My jumps are very standard, on purpose. The goal is to get the horses through the quarantine process safely.”
“Everyone has been raving about the footing,” said Lala who recently put new footing in what was his grass field, now called his ‘Big Ass Ring.’ “We don’t breed in the ring. We don’t want the stallion to think he might breed when he is about to be ridden. We can accommodate riders’ busy schedules – which I am well aware of since I am a rider myself.”
The United States Federal Department of Agriculture (USDA) carefully regulates the importation of horses into the country and the rules and regulations can seem overwhelming. Stallions and mares entering the U.S. from countries known to have Contagious Equine Metritis (CEM) are required to be quarantined and go through a testing process to prove that they do not have the sexually transmitted disease. All mares and stallions from Europe must go through the process.
“The things that come to mind when I think of James Lala’s Quarantine is his professionalism; it’s a workmanlike facility,” said Erin Newkirk, DVM of Reid and Associates Equine Medicine and Surgery. “It may not be extravagant, but everything is covered. He’s got great rings, places to exercise, great stalls – the horses are put first. Like today, he put in extra measures; it’s a horses-first facility.”
Lala works closely with Dr. Newkirk, who does all the testing, cleaning and packing and manages the live breeding of the stallions and the test mares, along with Lala’s expert stallion handlers. In addition, veterinarians from the State of Florida Department of Agriculture must be on hand when the horses arrive from the airport in Miami to unseal the trailer and check the paperwork. They are also on site to regulate every procedure from monitoring cultures taken to the live breeding.
“It is great working at this facility,” said Christina Anzures, DVM Veterinarian from the Florida Department of Agriculture. “James is always concerned about the biosecurity of the horses. He has very well trained personnel, which reduces the risk of any accidents. Now, with the outbreak of the EHV-1, he and his personnel are very on top of biosecurity. He put in a barricade and put in a larger foot bath and hand sanitizer – all in an effort to prevent horses at the facility from being infected.”
It is evident that Lala puts safety first while keeping the rider and owner in mind during the quarantine process. His impressive list of clients returns year after year.
“Two top European riders sent their stallions to me to ride while they did quarantine; then they flew them to California,” Lala said. “Obviously, that was more expensive but they have been very pleased here. We’ve had four or five horses that were in the Olympics. Almost every top rider has been here. Gold Medalists, World Cup horses, and many of the country’s top hunters have stayed here.”
To keep updated on the latest about the EHV-1 Outbreak, go to: www.FreshFromFlorida.com.
Carrie Wirth for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International