Affiliated bodies introduce equine herpes virus testing policy

  • Horses and ponies who have attended Crofton Manor in the last four weeks must test negative for equine herpes virus (EHV-1) to compete in affiliated showjumping and dressage.

    British Showjumping (BS) and British Dressage (BD) have announced that horses and ponies who attended Crofton, Hampshire, since 20 December must have a negative swab and blood test before competing at any BS or BD show or organised event. This follows an outbreak of EHV-1 at the centre announced on 8 January, in which four horses have been put down.

    BS chief executive Iain Graham told H&H the decision had been taken as a “precaution” following discussions with the Animal Health Trust (AHT).

    “Originally everyone was working to a 14-day window from 8 January which was the initial vets’ advice but as it appeared that more animals were affected at Crofton, we decided we should bring that period back further to reduce the risk,” he said.

    “It’s trying to get people to take that responsibility and if everyone does we will be able to prevent the disease spreading further.”

    Mr Graham said ponies who attended the BS pony show at Crofton on 21 December, and any horses who attended BS training there since 20 December, will have suspensions on their membership, which will not be lifted until negative test results are provided.

    “We had the conversation with the AHT to make sure they could cope with volumes of testing. The swabs gets turned around in 24 hours and the blood tests get done twice a week,” he said.

    “We agreed that this is what BS needed to do. No one else had an organised competition at Crofton the way BS had in the period before the outbreak was confirmed hence why this is our policy.”

    BD chief executive officer Jason Brautigam told H&H there have been no affiliated shows at Crofton since 20 December but BD is aware some members may have competed there at unaffiliated events or attended training sessions over the Christmas period.

    “We are therefore unable to trace members individually, but it is vitally important any horses potentially affected are tested before competing,” he said.

    “We are sure all responsible owners will appreciate the severity of risk EHV presents and will ensure the necessary action is taken to help contain the disease and safeguard the welfare of their horses and the wider equine population.”

    More competition centres have announced restrictions on horses and ponies who have attended Crotfon, or are from the Hampshire area.

    Vale View in Melton Mowbray, has asked that any clients from the Hampshire area or who have competed in the area do not attend the venue, while Aintree International Equestrian Centre, Liverpool, has asked that anyone who has attended Crofton, or has a horse or pony at their yard who has attended, since 20 December do not attend events in January.

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