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 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.
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.
The 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 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
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.
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