Valery is not affected by the outbreak

VALERY Trails, the Coffs Coast's well-known horse-riding tourist attraction, is unaffected by the equine influenza outbreak which has brought many equine operations to a halt.

Owner Clary Quirk, who operates Valery Trails with his wife Mary, said they had temporarily discontinued their overnight rides to Bellingen, which involve horse riders staying overnight at the Federal Hotel and riding back to Valery for a barbecue the next day, but all other activities were being carried out within the bounds of their 162 ha (400 acre) farm.

Coffs Harbour Riding for the Disabled Association assistant coach Annette Thomas said no one had introduced or moved horses in the last month, so they felt 'pretty safe.'

The RDA horses are kept at Valery Trails.

Mr Quirk, who moved from South Africa with his family, said while EI made horses sick, it was not usually fatal, but by contrast African Horse Sickness, which has not reached Australia, had a 90 per cent mortality rate among horses which contracted it.

He said it was encouraging that people were reacting strongly to the EI outbreak and supporting the horse industry, but it was important for people not to panic.

But he said he did not think the current EI outbreak had yet peaked and it could return next year.

Roger Fryer, the Woolgoolga-based website manager for the Bicentennial National Trail, said the Trail had been closed to horses, donkeys and mules until further notice.

This multi-use trekking route, which stretches up the East Coast of Australia from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria to tropical Far North Queensland, passes through the Coffs Coast at Ebor.

People with an interest in the horse industry can get regular updates via www.horsecouncil.org.au or on 1800 675888.



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