New British Equestrian (BE) Practical Guidance on Disease Prevention at Events

Posted on 21st September 2021

British Equestrian’s Equine Infections Disease Action Group (EIDAG) has today released their comprehensive publication aimed at mitigating the risk of equine disease transmission for general use. This should help reinforce the need to reduce the risk of the spread of infectious disease amongst equines from a variety of sources. 

The EIDAG was set up in October 2019 and comprises industry leaders with expertise in equine medicine and infectious diseases. Their primary objective was to help those in the equine industry who oversee and organise equine activities to play an essential role in mitigating the risk posed by infectious diseases to Britain’s equine population.

Advice Notes for BEF Member Bodies and Organisers of Horse Gatherings‘, is the product of months of input from the group and provides practical advice so that equine member bodies and those involved in organising any type of equestrian gathering can put effective and practical measures, guidance and education in place. The guidance is based on 10 pillars of equine infectious disease management that organisers should follow:

  • Responsibility
  • Raising standards and education
  • Risk communication and responsiveness
  • Vaccination
  • Vigilance and risk reduction
  • Biosecurity practice: participants
  • Biosecurity practice: stabling
  • Early disease recognition
  • Transparent information sharing
  • Supporting national infectious disease management

Based on compliance and measures in place, gatherings can then operate at gold, silver or bronze standard to illustrate the level of biosecurity in place to those looking to enter or take part. Vaccination, self-certification, surveillance and enhanced biosecurity are key elements for organisers, and participants, to consider for gatherings – the more stringent the requirements, the less risk of transmission at that event.

Available on line as a ‘pageturner pdf’, the advice notes also contain general background information on a number of endemic and exotic diseases present in Great Britain to help educate horse owners on signs and management. The information provided in the notes can be used in tandem with British Equestrian’s ‘Diseases to know about’ section on the website. The group has also provided recommended wording for member bodies on privacy policies, affiliation agreements and code of conduct to work with their organisers in a bid to drive standards towards a gold rating for activities.

The EDIAG and the British Equestrian team have a handbook for organisers currently in development, which will give clear advice on achieving the three standards for equine gatherings. The helpful guide will include collateral to help with biosecurity education and communication with participants and should be released this autumn.


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