Following the FEI Update Special EHV-1 Edition on 30 March announcing the Return To Competition measures/requirements to ensure the safe resumption of international sport in mainland Europe from 12 April, we would like to draw your attention to the latest information/news and resources available.
We urge all concerned stakeholders and concerned parties to share and familiarise themselves with all the information below and the requirements outlined on the EHV-1 hub in the dedicated Return To Competition section.
EHV Relief Fund
The EHV Relief Fund, created by Jumping athletes Emile Hendrix, Peter Charles and Frederick Goltz to provide financial support to Athletes and Owners facing financial hardship due to the costs of emergency veterinary treatment for their horses as a result of the EHV-1 outbreak in Europe, has already received support from the FEI, European Equestrian Federation, International Jumping Riders Club, Jumping Owners Club and Equestrian Organisers. In addition, Riders Help Riders, the fundraising campaign set up by German event organiser and sports marketer Axel Milkau, has joined forces with the Fund.
Guidelines outlining eligibility criteria for reimbursement from the EHV Relief Fund are now available here, together with the application form. Details of how to donate to the Fund are also available on the EHV Relief Fund page.
Return To Competition Factsheet for Athletes & Grooms
The FEI has created a Return to Competition Factsheet for Athletes and Grooms outlining all the key requirements that need to be met for Horses entered in competitions in mainland Europe from 12 April to 30 May 2021. This Factsheet is available in seven languages (see below) and can be found in the Return to Competition section of the EHV-1 hub: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish.
Return To Competition – New FEI HorseApp Modules & Guidelines for Stakeholders
The FEI has added four new modules to the FEI HorseApp to monitor and facilitate key mandatory requirements in the Return to Competition Measures.
There are detailed guidelines and video tutorials for all the different stakeholder groups (Athletes, Organising Committees, Officials, Grooms, Owners, National Federations and Trainers) providing step-by-step instructions to use the new modules on the FEI HorseApp available here.
Note: For Grooms to use the FEI HorseApp, they must have an active FEI ID account. Grooms can register with the FEI here and guidelines are available here.
- PCR Tests
As stipulated in the Return To Competition Measures, for any Event/Show with more than 400 Horses of any category, it is mandatory to provide proof of a negative PCR test for EHV-1 taken no earlier than 120 hours prior to arrival at the event. Click here to see the list of Events.
A specific module has been added to the FEI HorseApp to allow an FEI registered user to upload a copy of the relevant negative PCR test to a Horse’s profile. Athletes, Grooms, Owners, National Federations and Trainers can connect to the FEI HorseApp using their FEI ID number and provide the relevant document by taking a photo with their smartphone or tablet and uploading it directly to the Horse’s FEI profile in a few simple clicks.
Click here for the full details and guidelines.
- Examination on Arrival (for FEI Veterinarians)
The FEI Veterinarian conducting the Examination on Arrival will need to scan the Horse’s microchip with a reader connected via Bluetooth to the FEI HorseApp, and also manually record the Horse’s temperature in the FEI HorseApp.
FEI Veterinarians assigned to upcoming FEI Events have been contacted and invited to follow online training sessions.
Click here for the full details and guidelines.
In accordance with Art. 3.3.1 of the and in line with traceability objectives, the FEI may request a Horse(s) to be “checked-in” to inform the FEI of its whereabouts.
Athletes, Grooms, Owners and Trainers can connect to the FEI HorseApp using their FEI ID number and check-in their Horse.
Click here for the full details and guidelines.
- Check Out
Under the new Return To Competition measures, it is compulsory for the Organising Committee to formally ‘check out’ a horse by scanning the horse’s microchip or passport using the FEI HorseApp prior to leaving the Event. This ensures traceability should a disease outbreak occur.
Click here for the full details and guidelines.
The FEI Board has approved legally binding By-Laws for the Return To Competition measures published on 30 March 2021. These By-Laws, which are available in the Forms & Downloads of the Return To Competition section, formalise the temporary provisions in the measures that are not covered by either the FEI Veterinary Regulations or the FEI General Regulations.
The By-Laws, which come into force on 12 April 2021, will remain in effect until 30 May 2021, except where indicated otherwise. This period may be extended by the FEI based on an assessment of the EHV-1 situation.
The By-Laws are applicable in the following 37 countries in mainland Europe: Albania; Andorra; Austria; Belgium; Belarus; Bosnia & Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Spain; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Moldova; Republic of North Macedonia; Monaco; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovenia; Serbia; Switzerland; Slovakia; Sweden; Ukraine and Turkey.
Please note that where there is a mandatory requirement for a negative PCR test for EHV-1 – that is events with more than 400 horses and overnight stabling, and for all horses prior to being transported by plane to an FEI event – there is a change to the timeline, as agreed by the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group. The original text, as published on 30 March, required that the sample must be taken no earlier than 96 hours before arrival at the event, but this has now been amended to 120 hours due to concerns about the turnaround time for getting test results back from laboratories.
EHV-1 Return To Competition Athlete Information Seminar
The FEI hosted an athlete information seminar this evening (9 April) for athletes entered in FEI events during the first two weeks following the return to competition on 12 April, and the 66 National Federations that those athletes represent. The athletes were asked to invite their grooms to attend. The FEI Athlete Representatives, plus the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) and the International Dressage Riders Club (IDRC) were also invited.
Events in four FEI disciplines – Jumping, Dressage, Eventing and Endurance – are scheduled for the period 12-25 April.
The session was led by FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, with FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström presenting the Return To Competition measures specifically applicable to athletes and grooms, as well as the areas of responsibility for the Organisers, such as stabling, that are particularly relevant to athletes.
FEI Information & Sports Technology Director Gaspard Dufour presented the new features on the FEI HorseApp that will allow for greater traceability, and FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch was also on the panel to answer questions.
The full presentation from this evening’s session is now available in the Forms & Downloads of the Return To Competition section on the dedicated EHV-1 hub. The information will also be used to create a factsheet that will be published on 12 April in English, Dutch, French, Germany, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
The FEI is also hosting a training session for Veterinarians and has initiated a series of meetings with Organisers to guide them through their obligations under the Return To Competition measures.
The entire showjumping community has been devastated by the current linked outbreaks in Spain of the neurological form of EHV-1 that has impacted horses in 10 countries in mainland Europe. Through the hard work and dedication of many in our community, progress is clearly being made towards bringing the immediate situation under control. However, many riders and owners are facing severe financial hardship due to the costs of emergency veterinary treatment for their horses during the crisis.
In order to provide support for those affected by these unforeseen and, in many cases, very substantial expenses, the EHV Relief Fund has been established. The brainchild of showjumping athletes Emile Hendrix, Peter Charles and Frederick Goltz, the Fund has the support of the FEI, European Equestrian Federation, International Jumping Riders Club, Jumping Owners Club and Equestrian Organisers. In addition, Riders Help Riders, the fundraising campaign set up by German event organiser and sports marketer Axel Milkau, has joined forces with the Fund. Collectively, this group have set themselves up as the Sponsors of the Fund.
The mandate of the Fund is to provide financial support to riders and owners for the legitimate veterinary expenses resulting directly from the EHV-1 outbreaks in Spain. All proceeds raised by the Fund will be applied to this mission. Any administrative or other costs of the Fund will be borne by the Sponsors.
Guidelines for the submission of funding requests will be published in due course, but the basic principle will be to:
The Sponsors have created an oversight committee to manage distribution of the funds based on this mandate. The Sponsors are committed to full transparency and the accounts of the Fund will be published when it is wound-up.
“Despite these desperately distressing times, it has been heartwarming to see in practice what we all know to be true: that in our sport, the welfare of the horse comes first, no matter the circumstance”, Frederick Goltz said. “As part of that special community ethos, we would hope that the broader showjumping community will help to bear some of the costs, particularly in an environment made all the more difficult by Covid-19.”
A total of €250,000 has already been pledged to the Fund, including monies committed by the Sponsors, other donors, and the very successful fundraising effort already undertaken by the Riders Help Riders team.
“Thank you to those who have already joined our effort and we very much hope that everyone in the showjumping community will consider helping as much as they are able”, Peter Charles said.
Questions about the Fund can be addressed to EHVRelief@FEI.org
Donations can be paid directly to the dedicated bank account that has been set up through the FEI:
Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Place St-François 14, 1003 Lausanne - Switzerland
Account holder: Federation Equestre Internationale, IBAN: CH72 0076 7000 E536 6418 5, Account: E 5366.41.85 EUR, BIC/Swift: BCVLCH2LXXX
Sponsors: Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI); European Equestrian Federation (EEF); International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC); Jumping Owners Club (JOC); Equestrian Organisers (EO); Riders Help Riders; Emile Hendrix; Peter Charles; Frederick Goltz.
The FEI has today published the Return To Competition measures that will allow for a safe resumption of international sport in mainland Europe on 12 April following a six-week shutdown to control the spread of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).
The measures focus on six key areas: Pre-event venue preparation by Organisers; Athlete pre-event preparation; Examination on Arrival; Onsite at Event Venue; Departure from Events; and Jurisdiction.
The Return To Competition measures, which were comprehensively reviewed at a stakeholder consultation session last week and fine-tuned by both the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group and the FEI Veterinary Committee, have now been approved by the FEI Board.
Stakeholders who joined last week’s two-hour online consultation session included Athlete Representatives Pedro Veniss (Jumping) and Beatriz Ferrer Salat (Dressage), Eleonora Ottaviani (International Jumping Riders Club), Klaus Roeser (International Dressage Riders Club), Peter Bollen (Equestrian Organisers), Dominique Megret (Jumping Owners Club), Quentin Simonet and Ulf Helgstrand (European Equestrian Federation), together with international grooms Heidi Mulari (Steve Guerdat) and Kirsty Pascoe (Jérôme Guery), and FEI Events Stable Manager Patrick Borg.
The measures include a series of temporary provisions, which will remain in place until 30 May 2021, providing a science-based safety margin to allow for monitoring of any further related outbreaks. This date can be extended if required and advance notice will be provided to the community. These temporary provisions will be formalised in legally binding Bylaws which will be published during the week commencing 5 April 2021.
The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group has agreed that there is currently no evidence indicating that it would be unsafe to return to international competition in mainland Europe as planned on 12 April, provided the mandated enhanced preventive measures are implemented and there are no further linked outbreaks. The Group will continue to monitor the evolution of the European outbreak on a daily basis.
The FEI HorseApp will be updated with new modules which will allow for enhanced traceability as part of the EHV-1 Return To Competition measures. These will be launched in the second week of April.
The Return To Competition measures, which clearly outline roles and responsibilities, are available online and for download in the dedicated EHV-1 hub. Additional documentation will be added in the coming days.
The FEI today hosted a stakeholder consultation session to review comprehensive draft Return To Competition protocols. These measures are aimed at, in the short term, minimising the risks associated with the restart of FEI competitions in mainland Europe on 12 April 2021 and, in the long term, increasing biosecurity knowledge, skills and awareness among all FEI stakeholders in order to prevent a recurrence of the devastating EHV-1 outbreak.
he proposed Return To Competition protocols, a number of which are already covered in the FEI Veterinary Regulations or FEI General Regulations, were presented by FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström and generated valuable input from stakeholders. FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch discussed the legal provisions for enhanced FEI jurisdiction in the event of a disease outbreak at an FEI Event.
Areas covered in the draft requirements include biosecurity plans and mitigation plans for outbreaks of infectious disease for all FEI Events; mandatory advance PCR testing (for certain designated events only) and temperature monitoring; enhanced Examination on Arrival external to the event stabling area for all horses; athlete self-certification for the health status of their horses; stabling (including isolation stables and restrictions on access); minimising nose-to-nose contact between horses; control of dogs; and the importance of basic hygiene.
The proposals, which received broad consensus from the group, cover pre-event, the duration of the event and post-event.
The topic of vaccinations was discussed and the FEI Veterinary Director advised that there are no vaccines which are effective against the neurological form of the virus that has caused the current outbreak. Vaccinated horses have still become sick and, in addition, there are currently very limited supplies of EHV vaccines available in Europe.
In a brief opening address, FEI President Ingmar De Vos reiterated that there will be a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances of the outbreak and that the findings will be published. “Our goal is to learn from this and not to point fingers”, he said. He also thanked participants and the wider community for the incredible team and individual efforts to contain the outbreak.
He stressed the need for continuing to work together. “The measures we put in place – both short-term and long-term - and especially how effective they are, will depend on our ability as a community to collaborate, to agree to the same set of principles and to fully endorse and implement them in each of our respective areas of responsibility.
“This outbreak in Europe has been devastating. But everyone in this virtual room has shown great solidarity so far, and I am confident today will be another milestone in our collective effort to overcome this, to learn from it and to make us stronger for the future.”
Stakeholders who joined the two-hour online session included Athlete Representatives Pedro Veniss (Jumping) and Beatriz Ferrer Salat (Dressage), Eleonora Ottaviani (International Jumping Riders Club), Klaus Roeser (International Dressage Riders Club), Peter Bollen (Equestrian Organisers), Dominique Megret (Jumping Owners Club), Quentin Simonet and Ulf Helgstrand (European Equestrian Federation), together with international grooms Heidi Mulari (Steve Guerdat) and Kirsty Pascoe (Jérôme Guery), and FEI Events Stable Manager Patrick Borg.
FEI Veterinary Committee Chair Jenny Hall was also part of the meeting, alongside the Chairs of the FEI Technical Committees – Stephan Ellenbruch (Jumping), Frank Kemperman (Dressage), David O’Connor (Eventing), Karoly Fugli (Driving), Christian Lozano (Endurance), Pavla Krauspe (Vaulting) and Amanda Bond (Para Dressage). FEI Headquarters was represented by the Discipline Directors, IT, Veterinary, Legal and Communications Departments.
At the conclusion of the meeting, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez outlined next steps, advising the group that feedback from the stakeholder consultation session will now be incorporated into the draft proposals. The proposed measures, which were discussed by the FEI Veterinary Committee yesterday, will be further reviewed at tomorrow’s FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group meeting before being finalised and presented to the FEI Board for approval. Bylaws for some of the temporary measures will need to be put in place, and rules for the long-term requirements.
The community will be advised of the new requirements before the end of March in order to allow sufficient time for implementation.
Following stakeholder consultation and a recommendation from the FEI Endurance Calendar Task Force, the FEI Board has approved the following resolutions with regards to the FEI Endurance World Championship scheduled for 22 May 2021 in Pisa (ITA), having been postponed from its original date of 6 September 2020 due to Covid-19.
These resolutions are based on a decision to maintain the Championship on 22 May 2021 following a request by the Italian National Federation and the Organiser to postpone the Championship due to the uncertain evolution of Covid-19 and the impact of EHV-1 in Europe particularly. Although two alternative dates were proposed - 10 July 2021 and 25 September 2021 - the FEI Endurance Calendar Task Force unanimously agreed to recommend to the Board to maintain the initial date of 22 May 2021 for the Championship subject to the conditions above that would provide National Federations more opportunities to select their best and most fit combinations.
The Endurance Calendar Task Force also highlighted to the FEI Board that the new proposed dates would have an impact on the FEI Endurance Pan American Championship for Seniors & Young Riders from 28 – 29 July 2021; the FEI Endurance European Championship from 6 to 11 September; and the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Horses from 15 to 19 September.
In addition, they noted there were a total of 44 qualified NFs, with 584 qualified combinations from all FEI Regional Groups for the Championship and moving the Championship to July or September 2021 would require National Federations to adapt their planned selection process and adjust their training programmes, as well as repercussions on available horsepower for the different Championships mentioned above.
As is customary, these resolutions will be included on the FEI Covid-19 Resolutions & Decisions hub for Endurance.
Following the announcement on Friday 19 March regarding four FEI Jumping calendar recommendations approved by the Board, the two Board resolutions for Dressage announced on Monday 22 March, we would now like to share with you the FEI Eventing Calendar measures which have been approved by the FEI Board. Once again, these measures seek to mitigate the negative effects of Covid-19 and EHV-1, and in particular to allow as many Events as possible to take place leading up to Tokyo 2020. They will provide Athletes more opportunities to compete to obtain the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) and Confirmation Results, and to train for the Olympic Games as well as for other Championships, while for Organisers, these measures provide more flexibility to re-schedule their cancelled or postponed Events.
The FEI Eventing Calendar measures approved by the FEI Board are:
The FEI Board approved that all Eventing Event Organisers may, until the end of the Tokyo 2020 Games (Sunday 8 August 2021), organise their Events (subject to the Calendar applications deadline mentioned below) on their selected dates and no Dates Clash Rules shall apply during that time.
Please note that, as stated in the Olympic Regulations, any additional Event which has not organised a CCI4* on a regular yearly basis will be included as “non-OG MER” as per current procedure.
All the Calendar Measures for Jumping, Dressage and Eventing can be found in the FEI Covid-19 Resolutions & Decisions hub. We will also be announcing additional Calendar Measures for other disciplines in the coming days, following input from the relevant Calendar Task Forces.
Following the announcement on Friday 19 March regarding four FEI Jumping calendar recommendations approved by the Board, we would now like to share the FEI Dressage Calendar measures which have been approved. Once again, these measures seek to mitigate the negative effects of Covid-19 and EHV-1, and in particular to allow as many Events as possible to take place leading up to Tokyo 2020. They will provide Athletes more opportunities to compete to obtain the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) and Confirmation Results, and to train for the Olympic Games as well as for other Championships, while for Organisers, these measures provide more flexibility to re-schedule their cancelled or postponed Events.
The FEI Dressage Calendar measures approved by the FEI Board are:
The FEI Board approved that all Dressage Event Organisers may, until the end of the Tokyo 2020 Games (Sunday 8 August 2021), organise their Events (subject to the Calendar applications deadline mentioned below) on their selected dates and no Dates Clash Rules shall apply during that time.
In order to give National Federations and Organisers more flexibility when applying for their Events in the FEI Calendar (and consequently providing more options for the Athletes to compete), the FEI Board approved the reduction of deadlines for Calendar applications as follows:
Following Jumping and now Dressage, we would also like to highlight that we will be announcing additional Calendar Measures for other disciplines in the coming days, following input from each of the dedicated Calendar Task Forces.
The FEI Board has approved four recommendations from the FEI Jumping Calendar Task Force to allow greater flexibility around Date Clash Rules, Calendar Applications, Date Change Applications due to EHV-1, as well as new dates for the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses 2021, Lanaken (BEL).
These Calendar measures seek to mitigate the negative effects of Covid-19 and EHV-1, and in particular to allow as many Events as possible to take place leading up to Tokyo 2020. They will provide Athletes more opportunities to compete to obtain the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) and Confirmation Results, and to train for the Olympic Games as well as for other Championships, while for Organisers, these measures provide more flexibility to re-schedule their cancelled or postponed Events.
The FEI Jumping Calendar measures approved by the FEI Board today are:
A communication is also being sent to FEI Jumping Athletes informing them of changes to the deadlines for calendar applications as well as Jumping Events that have been added or moved in the FEI Calendar today.
And lastly, we would like to also highlight that the FEI will be announcing Calendar Measures for the other disciplines in the coming days, following input from each of the dedicated Calendar Task Forces.
The recent outbreak of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1 neurological form) in Europe has tragically resulted in the death of a number of horses and there are many still being treated for this very aggressive strain of the virus. One death is one too many, and we must do everything in our power to stop the spread of this terrible virus.
When the FEI was first notified on 20 February, we set out to minimise transmission of EHV-1 by tracing and blocking all in-contact horses, but as the severity and the geographical spread of the outbreak became apparent, we took tougher measures and shut down all international events across all disciplines in mainland Europe for four weeks up until 28 March.
On 12 March, that lockdown of international events was extended to 11 April and the FEI has urged all member National Federations to follow suit with their national competitions and training events.
These were not decisions that we took lightly, and we are extremely grateful for all the support we have received from the community, especially as we are all aware of the ramifications this extended shutdown means for our sport, our members and stakeholders. The willingness of the community to accept and even welcome the prolonged lockdown is testimony to our collective dedication to the safety and welfare of our horses.
To date, we have blocked almost 4,000 horses on the FEI Database, meaning they must be kept in isolation, and a negative PCR test will need to be provided prior to them being unblocked and cleared for competition.
While EHV-1 is endemic in many countries, the current outbreak of the neurological form is the worst we have seen in decades, and it has clearly tested our biosecurity processes and our resilience. Nobody wants to see an outbreak like this ever again. And we will continue to monitor EHV-1 outbreaks through the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group, composed of world-leading EHV specialists, members of the FEI Veterinary team and supported by the Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee. Communication is crucial when dealing with an outbreak, and we will keep the community informed on the Working Group findings with a weekly report and recommendations published on the dedicated FEI EHV-1 hub where we have been and continue to post all our latest updates and information.
It is also very important for us to receive all the correct information for our risk assessments and decisions. For this we need your support. By informing us of positive EHV-1 test results and sick horses you contribute to our combined efforts to ensure a safe return to competition on 12 April 2021. Please send us this information, including the positive PCR result to firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee you and your horse anonymity.
We understand that the current situation is creating a lot of uncertainty and worry within our community. The current outbreak is still a problem and we must all be part of the solution. Each of our actions will reduce the severity and the duration of this outbreak and make possible a safe restart of competition.
There will be a comprehensive and fully transparent investigation into every aspect of this outbreak and the way it has been handled, and we will be putting in place enhanced protocols to allow a safe return to play once the virus is under control.
The response to this crisis has clearly reflected the true community spirit for which the equestrian world is renowned, and we have seen members of the community rally together and provide incredible levels of support. We must continue working together to keep our horses safe.
Göran Åkerström, D.V.M.
FEI Veterinary Director