Equine events pose a significant  risk for the spread of infectious disease because of the concentration of horses and the  settings in which horses interact with humans and other horses. Diseases can be spread from horse to horse, via human contact, or even through shared supplies, equipment, and surfaces such as universal water troughs or hitching posts. Event managers have a responsibility to ensure that their event maintains biosecurity protocols and that plans are in place to reduce spread of disease in the event of an outbreak. Owners are responsible for following biosecurity protocols and for their own awareness of the possibility of disease spread.

We recommend that all event managers complete an Isolation Plan for every event. A copy of this plan should be available in the show office at all times during the event. All USEF recognized events require an isolation protocol for horses suspected of infectious disease. If you are hosting a USEF recognized event, please see the Resources Page for event organizers for more information.

Event Managers- Recommendations for Best Practices:

  1. Complete a risk assessment and isolation plan for your event and location.
  2. Establish a relationship with a local veterinarian and work together to create a comprehensive biosecurity plan and outbreak plan tailored to your location and event.
  3. Ensure that an area is reserved for isolation in the event of an outbreak.
  4. Create and train employees and volunteers on protocols to report suspicion of sick horses. Provide all competitors with protocols and post in show office.
  5. Create and enforce strict health requirements for entry:
    1. Consider requiring a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI; often called a health certificate. Consider CVI timeframe based on risk assessment.
    2. Require a negative EIA test (commonly known as the Coggins test) within 12 months
    3. Require a Horse Health Declaration with twice daily temperature readings recorded for 3-5 days prior to the start of competition. Temperature logs must be presented at check-in.
    4. Require proof of vaccination based on risk assessment. 
  6. Provide clear rules and instructions in show bills, in information packets, and on signs.
    1. Clearly state requirements both to enter the competition and check in.
    2. Provide clear instructions with regard to stabling/do not allow horses to enter without check-in.
    3. Provide the layout of facility including maps indicating water supply, waste disposal, and isolation areas
    4. Sanitize all stalls and facilities before and after all competitions.
    5. Provide clear instructions for water and waste disposal.
    6. Discourage horse-to-horse contact in show information and by posting signs throughout the facility.
    7. Distribute information and post signage throughout the facility requesting spectators and competitors refrain from touching any horses for which they are not directly responsible.
    8. Request that spectators and competitors avoid horse to non-equine species contact and require leashes for all pets on the premises.
    9. Keep detailed records of all horses on premises including name of horse, owner, home location, contact information (cell phone number/email) and recent locations as well as copies of CVIs and EIA test (often called the Coggins test).

 The Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events, CDFA  provides tools for event managers to create and maintain thorough biosecurity protocols. The toolkit includes risk assessments, instructions for cleaning after an event, dozens of signs and posters to be used around the facility, exhibitor handouts, and templates for event managers to use in the show office when planning and while running an equine event.