We are very happy to welcome you to the veterinarian hub of the FEI website. Within the following pages, you will find useful information and advice on specific issues relevant to your role as a Veterinarian working at an FEI event either in a treating or official capacity.
We would like to remind you that it is the paramount responsibility of all those involved in equestrian sport to ensure a high health and welfare status of the horses they are in charge of. To this end, the FEI Equine Welfare Code of Conduct must be complied with at all times. As Veterinary health professionals supporting equestrianism throughout the world, you play an essential role in protecting the welfare of all competing horses. You are also responsible for implementing the FEI Veterinary Regulations and ensuring fair play. You are, moreover, expected to be familiar with the FEI Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations and the FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List, which can be found on the FEI Clean Sport website.
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 email@example.com. 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
The FEI has imposed a further two-week extension of the shutdown of all international events in mainland Europe until 11 April 2021 due to the ongoing outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).
The move, which aims to minimise the further spread of the very aggressive strain of the virus, was unanimously approved at an emergency FEI Executive Board meeting today. The extended lockdown applies to all FEI disciplines.
The decision is based on detailed scientific risk assessment conducted by world leading epidemiologist Dr Richard Newton and the FEI Veterinary Department.
The extended lockdown applies to all countries that have international scheduled events in the period to 11 April – Austria, Belgium, Spain, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden. However, the FEI again strongly recommends that all National Federations in mainland Europe cancel their national events in order to minimise horse movement.
The additional lockdown period is crucial to slow down the spread of the virus so that the rest of the season can be preserved, our athletes and horses can get back to competing safely and to allow as long a period as possible for those aiming for Tokyo to earn their Minimum Eligibility Requirements and confirmation results, and to prepare horses for the Games.
Sadly, the shutdown will mean the cancellation of the FEI World Cup™ Finals for the second consecutive year following the loss of the 2020 Finals in Las Vegas (USA) to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final were scheduled to be held in Gothenburg (SWE) from 31 March to 4 April 2021.
Work on identifying the gene sequencing of this strain of the virus is already underway, and the FEI is continuing to monitor the evolution of the virus through the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group, which was formalised this week. The Group is composed of world-leading EHV specialists, the FEI Veterinary Director and FEI Senior Veterinary Advisor, and supported by the Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee. Reports and recommendations from this Group will be published on a weekly basis.
We need to work together to contain this virus so that competition can resume as soon as possible, so we ask that you monitor extremely carefully and keep the FEI Veterinary Department updated on the situation in your country, particularly reporting any suspected and confirmed cases.
The FEI is publishing daily updates on the dedicated EHV-1 hub.
A press release on today’s FEI Executive Board decision is available here.
The FEI has today been advised of an equine fatality at the veterinary hospital clinic in Valencia (ESP). Sadly this brings the number of related deaths in this outbreak to 11.
Additionally, the FEI has received notification of a confirmed positive for EHV-1 in a horse in Belgium after its return from the Spanish Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera (ESP). This horse, which was placed in isolation immediately on return to its home stables in Belgium, was a close in-contact to the first horse that developed a fever on the Vejer de la Frontera venue. This first horse was put into isolation on 26 February, developed neurological signs on 4 March and, although it tested negative to EHV-1, that result was inconclusive. A second horse on the venue developed neurological signs on 5 March and was also transferred to the isolation stables.
As a result of the confirmed positive in Belgium, all horses that have participated in the Spanish Sunshine Tour since 9 February 2021 have been blocked in the FEI Database. All affected athletes will be advised of the necessary measures that must be implemented prior to return to competition.
The FEI has today been informed that a second horse at the Spanish Sunshine Tour venue in Vejer de la Frontera (ESP) has been put into isolation after developing mild neurological signs and a slightly elevated temperature.
As this is the second horse showing neurological signs of EHV-1 in Vejer, even though both horses are in the isolation stables two kilometres from the venue, the FEI has tonight advised the Organisers that the event is cancelled with immediate effect.
Following a full risk analysis conducted by the Spanish Ministry (MAPA), the Organisers and the FEI on Wednesday, 4 March 2021, all parties had agreed that – exceptionally and in order to ensure an orderly and biosecure departure of horses – competition could continue until Sunday 7 March subject to a number of conditions. However, the FEI reserved the right to cancel the full event if the situation changed.
The news of a second horse displaying neurological signs means that there is no choice now but to immediately shut down the competition in Vejer de la Frontera.
The Spanish Veterinary Authorities will be onsite to prepare health certificates for departing horses.
All the latest figures, information and news around the current EHV-1 outbreak in Europe are available here.
Over the next few days and weeks, over 1,500 horses will be travelling up through Europe from Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Given the long distances, horses will need to rest. It is vital that the stopover/transit stabling for horses have the proper biosecurity requirements in place to minimise the risk of further transmission of EHV-1.
The French Federation has been very responsive in arranging specific stabling in France for horses travelling through the country where they can be stabled under the necessary biosecurity conditions with disinfection procedures and onsite veterinary support.
The stables are:
Places will fill-up quickly and need to be booked as soon as possible. More information on these stabling options and potentially additional locations in France will be updated here.
Other EU Federations are encouraged to set-up stopover/transit stabling, meeting the necessary sanitary requirements and to contact the EEF and the FEI with the relevant information, so that this can be shared with the entire community.
We urge all affected NFs to inform their athletes accordingly and to stress the importance of ensuring appropriate biosecurity measures throughout their journey and continuing on arrival home.
We would like to sincerely thank the French NF for this initiative and will keep you updated on any further developments on the stopover/transit stabling options.
Note that a new portal has been created on Inside.FEI.org, where you will find all the latest figures, information and news around the current EHV-1 outbreak in Europe. We will continue to publish all the latest information there.
Following our two communiques on 1 March, we would like to provide you with the latest information on the outbreak of EHV-1 (neurological form) and the situation in Valencia (ESP), as well as an update on the GCT/GCL event in Doha (QAT).
The situation onsite in Valencia, although still extremely distressing for athletes and owners, has improved. A total of 83 on-venue horses are showing clinical signs and are being treated, but none of these horses are recumbent and require slings for support. Fifteen horses are currently being treated in external clinics (13 in Valencia and two in Barcelona).
There have been no more equine fatalities at the venue in Valencia since last weekend, but sadly one horse has died at a veterinary hospital in Barcelona and one has died in Germany. Both of these horses had been in Valencia. There are no reports of any further related deaths, but tragically this brings the total number of deaths in this outbreak to six.
FEI Veterinary Manager Gonçalo Paixão remains in Valencia, and will be joined by FEI Jumping Director Marco Fuste, who will provide additional support to the onsite team.
Communications have also improved, with a meeting at the venue today between Spanish Ministry Officials (MAPA), the Organisers, the OC veterinarians, an athlete representative and the FEI treatment team leader. Agreement was reached on roles, treatment protocols and a new plan for separation of horses following requests from athletes and owners for their horses to be grouped together without infringing biosecurity protocols.
Some of the additional temporary stabling delivered to the venue at the beginning of the week was unsuitable for large horses, however, replacement boxes organised by Katharina Offel of the International Jumping Riders Club are being transported to the venue from the Spanish Sunshine Tour after thorough cleaning and disinfection. These are due to arrive in Valencia tomorrow.
In Doha, a German horse at the Al Shaqab venue, which was already in isolation after arriving from Valencia, has tested positive for EHV-1 and has been transferred to the isolation unit of the neighbouring veterinary clinic, together with a second German horse that has returned an inconclusive result and will continue to be retested.
A total of four horses that had been competing in Valencia arrived in Doha on 20 February, having left the Spanish venue earlier in the month. Of the four, two Colombian horses had left Valencia on 7 February, and the two German horses had departed from Valencia on 12 February, eight days prior to the FEI being notified of the EHV-1 outbreak.
As per our communique of 22 February, the FEI identified all 752 horses that had been in Valencia since 1 February and blocked them in the FEI Database, meaning that they cannot enter any FEI Events until they have fulfilled the necessary testing requirements. This included the four horses that had travelled to Doha and the FEI contacted the Organisers to tell them to isolate these horses on the Al Shaqab venue. All four horses tested negative on 22 February, but remained in the isolation stables.
The FEI has been in contact with the Doha Organisers continuously and has conducted an ongoing risk analysis of the situation, together with world-leading epidemiologists. Based on the additional biosecurity measures already in place onsite at Al Shaqab, the fact that all other horses at the venue have returned negative PCR tests over the last two days and subject to a number of mandatory conditions (listed below), the FEI has agreed that this weekend’s competition can go ahead in Doha. However, the FEI reserves the right to cancel the event if there are any changes to the current situation.
The FEI and the Doha organisers invited all onsite athletes, FEI Officials and Team Veterinarians in Al Shaqab to a virtual meeting today to advise them of the conditions under which the event is allowed to continue and to answer questions.
These conditions include:
“Obviously there is no such thing as zero risk, but for the competing horses in Doha, there is no greater risk of infection than at any other event”, FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “Epidemiologically, the risk of further cases amongst other horses in Doha is negligible due to the biosecurity measures that have already been put in place, and the additional mandatory conditions agreed today. Obviously the situation will be monitored very closely and we have the option to cancel the event if things change.”
The FEI has cancelled international events in 10 countries on the European mainland with immediate effect and until 28 March 2021 due to the rapid evolution of a very aggressive strain of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), which originated in Valencia (ESP) and has already resulted in related outbreaks in at least three other countries in Europe.
This decision applies to all FEI disciplines, but in order to prevent huge numbers of horses simultaneously departing the Jumping Tours on the Iberian Peninsula, in Italy and Belgium that have been ongoing for a number of weeks, these specific Tours will be allowed to continue as individual “bubbles” on the condition that absolutely no new horses are allowed to enter the venues and no positive cases of EHV-1 are confirmed.
The Jumping Tour venues in Vejer de la Frontera (ESP), Vilamoura (POR), San Giovanni in Marignano (ITA) and Gorla Minore (ITA) will have stringent biosecurity protocols in place and additional FEI Veterinary Delegates onsite. Horses will only be permitted to leave these venues when they are in possession of an official health certificate from the local Veterinary Authorities. Any horses leaving these venues without this documentation will be blocked on the FEI Database. It is also illegal to transport a horse without an official health certificate.
Oliva Nova (ESP) had already advised the FEI this afternoon that it has decided to cancel the rest of its scheduled competitions in the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour III. Opglabbeek (BEL) has also informed the FEI that it has cancelled its events in March.
A number of countries, including France, have already cancelled all their events to minimise transmission of the virus.
The decision, which covers events in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia, has been made in accordance with FEI General Regulations Article 112.3, which state: The Secretary General shall have the authority to remove any Competition and/or Event from the Calendar if justified circumstances relating to a Competition or the Event are established.
“This was not an easy decision to block events in mainland Europe, particularly after the major disruption to the FEI Calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but this EHV-1 outbreak is probably the most serious we have had in Europe for many decades and our decision is based on clearly identified epidemiological risk factors.
“This strain of EHV-1 is particularly aggressive and has already caused equine fatalities and a very large number of severe clinical cases. We need to keep our horses safe.
“We are also aware that a large number of horses left the venue in Valencia without an official health certificate, meaning they had an unknown health status. Some horses were already sick, and the risk of transmission from these horses is a major concern.
“Cancelling these competitions in mainland Europe, with the exception of the ongoing Jumping Tours in the Iberian Peninsula and Italy, limits the number of horses travelling internationally and therefore reduces the likelihood of this very serious virus being transmitted on an increasingly wider scale. We also strongly recommend that the affected member Federations should also cancel their national events.
“We are very conscious of the fact that this is a very stressful and distressing time, and that this is potentially hugely disruptive for those aiming for their Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) or confirmation results for Tokyo, but we are looking at ways to alleviate that in order to assist athlete/horse combinations in getting their MERs or confirmation results once the events in mainland Europe are allowed to resume.”
The FEI is aware that some athletes have already arrived on competition venues or are en route, and will contact all impacted athletes entered in Events between now and 28 March 2021.
All the latest updates on EHV-1 can be found here.