Biosecurity Tip of the Month: Horse Health at Events

Biosecurity Tip of the Month: Horse Health at Events

Monitor your horse's health and temperature regularly at shows, even if it's not required by the host facility.

Photo: Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital

When packing your trailer for your next event, don't forget your horse's thermometer. This little piece of equipment could give you the first clue that your horse is becoming ill while at a show, trail ride, or competition.

Biosecurity Risk: Horses incubating pathogens at an event could develop clinical disease while at the show.

Depending on the protocols facilities have in place regarding horse health monitoring, the biosecurity risk to your horse can range from minor to major, or be somewhere in between:

  • High Biosecurity Risk—The event has no policy requiring competitors to monitor their horses' health and no designated staff responsible for horse health monitoring.
  • Medium Biosecurity Risk—Event staff conduct random walk-throughs of barns to monitor horses' health. Owners are required to monitor horses' temperatures if those animals have a fever or clinical signs of illness.
  • Minimal Biosecurity Risk—Qualified, knowledgeable staff are designated to inspect every horse upon arrival and periodically monitor horses for the duration of the event. Competitors are required to monitor and record all horses' temperatures twice daily.

Biosecurity Fix: Event organizers, keep tabs on horses health periodically, and require competitors to monitoring their horses' health and report any sick horses to a designated official. And, of course, isolate any horse showing any signs of disease.

Owners, monitor your horse's health and temperature regularly, even if it's not required by the facility, and report any signs of disease to the event management.

And as always, remember to provide a safe and healthy environment for your horse by practicing good biosecurity at your farm and while traveling

Information provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events

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