Equine flu prompts Australia to review competition calendar

  • The competition calendar in Australia is under review so riders can continue preparing for next year’s Olympics despite the flu outbreak.

    The review might mean the postponement of the Sydney International three-day event and the Australian championships for dressage in Sydney and show jumping in Canberra.

    President of the Equestrian Federation of Australia (EFA) Geoff Sinclair said: “This emergency could not have come at a worse time for us. Many finals, championships and other major events are Olympic qualification and selection events.”

    The EFA has asked its sport committees to prioritise those events that are essential for Australia’s Olympic preparations.

    The EFA is also talking with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to find an alternative date for the Olympic dressage team qualification. Both New Zealand and Japan had been due to send teams to the country but all horse imports have been banned.

    Despite the ban on horse movements there were reports today of two breaches in New South Wales (NSW). One was discovered by a routine police patrol and the other involved a tip-off from the public.

    The flu has now infected over 1,000 horses on 127 properties in NSW, but the total number suspected to have the disease is nearer 3,500.

    The virus spread rapidly around both NSW and Queensland, but there are now also eight suspected cases close to the Victorian border at Albury.

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