CHENNAI: With his horse out of a three-week quarantine last Sunday, Fouaad Mirza is targeting an event in the third week of April to come back to competitions. “Yeah, all’s good with Dajara 4,” the rider tells this newspaper. “She came out of quarantine last Sunday and full-fledged training has resumed, so onwards and upwards. We have Stregzom, where he will target an Minimum eligibility Requirement (MER) to rubber-stamp his Olympics spot, coming up in the middle of April. We are currently preparing for that. I am happy to say we are running on schedule and I can’t wait to get started to be honest.”
Dajara 4 was forced into quarantine after an outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) among horses in February. The outbreak was deemed so serious that all events in mainland Europe were cancelled pretty much till the beginning of April. After taking Dajara-4 back to his base in Germany from Italy where he had travelled for a competition in the beginning of March, the double Asian Games medallist had to keep monitoring her regularly.
“I had to constantly keep monitoring her temperature two times a day for three weeks,” he says. “She also had to return two negative tests (for EHV1 and EHV4) one week apart before being allowed to come back to a normal stable.” Crucially, even though Dajara 4 was staying separately from the other horses, training didn’t get affected. “As far as training was concerned, it was slightly difficult to do it out of that facility. But, as they say, where there is a will, there is way.
We did have sufficient training during that time. I’m currently on schedule. And because she tested negative, there was no need to disinfect my equipment or be worried about whether my equipment could be contaminated.” That is important because the 29-year-old will go to that in Poland hoping to complete a dream of qualifying for the Olympics.