Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events

Welcome to the Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events

The Equine Herpes Virus-1 outbreak, associated with the Western National Cutting Horse Event in Ogden, UT in May 2011, increased awareness and need for biosecurity measures at equine events. During the outbreak, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health Branch (CDFA AHB), received numerous inquiries and requests for guidance for keeping horses healthy at equine events from the equine industry stakeholders in the state.

The California Equine Medication Monitoring Program (EMMP) Advisory Committee represents a broad range of equine disciplines regulated by the program and is responsible for addressing concerns of the equine industry. With more than 1600 shows a year that register with the program, the need for biosecurity outreach was evident. Based on limited available biosecurity resources, the CDFA AHB received a formal request for development of a toolkit for equine events from the California EMMP Advisory Committee.

Biosecurity is a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risks for introduction and transmission of an infectious disease agent. Infectious disease pathogens may be brought to and spread at an event premises by horses, people, domestic animals other than horses, vehicles, equipment, insects, ticks, birds, wildlife including rodents, feed, waste and water. Implementation of an equine event biosecurity plan will minimize or prevent the movement of diseases and pests on and off the event premises. Development and implementation of an equine event biosecurity plan is an essential responsibility of the equine event manager that is critical to protecting the equine industry.

The objective of this biosecurity toolkit is to provide equine event managers with resources to recognize potential disease risks at the event venue and develop a biosecurity and infectious disease control plan to protect the health of the competition/exhibition horses and the equine population. Each event and venue is unique; therefore, the toolkit provides guidance for the assessment and development of event-specific plans that address the specific identified disease risks of the event and venue.

Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events

Part 1: Basic Biosecurity (8MB)

Part 1: Basic Biosecurity for Equine Events

1. Potential for “Perfect Storm” At Equine Events
  • a. Entry and Movement of Disease Agent
  • b. Exposure of Stressed Susceptible Horse Population
  • c. Environmental Spread of Disease
  • d. Lack of Biosecurity
2. Biosecurity Challenges at Equine Events
  • a. Commingling Horses of Unknown Health Status
  • b. Stabling of Animals in Close Proximity
  • c. Animal and Human Movement
  • d. Inadequate or Non-existent Isolation Areas
3. Biosecurity Plan for Equine Events
  • a. Equine Event Biosecurity Assessment
    • i. Facility Layout
    • ii. Animal Entry Requirements
    • iii. Horse Stabling
    • iv. Stall Sanitation
    • v. Manure, Soiled Bedding and Hay Disposal
    • vi. Water Source and Disposal
    • vii. Feed and Hay Storage
    • viii. Horse-to-Horse Contact
    • ix. Horse-to-Other Species Contact
    • x. Traffic (people, horses, cleaning equipment, vehicles) Control
    • xi. Record Keeping
  • b. Recommendations for an Equine Event Biosecurity Plan
    • i. Health Requirements for Entry
      • 1. Only Healthy Horse Policy
      • 2. Event No Fever Policy
      • 3. Health Certificate Required for Entry Policy
      • 4. Horse Health Declaration Policy
    • ii. Report Suspicion of Sick Horse(s)
    • iii. Isolation of Sick Horses
    • iv. Temperature Monitoring of Horses
    • v. Monitoring of Horse Health
    • vi. Equipment Handling
    • vii. Limit Horse-to-Horse Contact
    • viii. Limit Indirect Horse Contact
    • ix. Restrict Dog Movement
    • x. Limit Human-to-Horse Contact
    • xi. Visitor Access Policy
    • xii. Vector Control Program
    • xiii. Wildlife Control Program
    • xiv. Control and Track Horse Movement
    • xv. Post Adequate Biosecurity Signage
    • xvi. Medical Device Use and Disposal
    • xvii. Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
    • xviii. Communicate Biosecurity Plan

Part 2: Enhanced Biosecurity and Infectious Disease Control (6MB)

Part 2: Enhanced Biosecurity and Infectious Disease Control For Equine Events

  • 1. Overview
  • 2. Infectious Diseases
    • a. Potential Agents
    • b. Potential Modes of Transmission
  • 3. Enhanced Biosecurity in the Face of the Outbreak
    • a. Stop Movement Orders
    • b. Control and Track Horse Movement
    • c. Monitoring of Horse Health
    • d. Temperature Monitoring of Horses
    • e. Equipment Handling
    • f. Restrict Direct and Indirect Horse Contact
    • g. Control Dog Entry to the Premises
    • h. Restrict Human-to-Horse Contact
    • i. Restrict Visitor Access
    • j. Post Adequate Biosecurity Signage
    • k. Strict Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
  • 4. Recommendations for an Equine Event Infectious Disease Control Plan
    • a. Sick Horse Trigger Point
    • b. Potential Isolation Areas
    • c. Inventory of Protective Clothing
    • d. Sick Horse Reporting
    • e. Immediate Identification and Isolation of Sick Horse
    • f. Monitoring the Sick Horse
    • g. Entry and Exit Protocols for Isolation Area
    • h. Notification of Animal Health Officials
    • i. Handling Rabies Suspect
    • j. Euthanasia of a Horse; Carcass Handling
    • k. Exposure Assessment of All Event Horses
    • l. Release of Horses from Event
    • m. Advice to People Leaving the Venue
    • n. Locating Horses Moved from the Venue
    • o. Monitoring Exposed Horses Onsite
    • p. Feed and Bedding Delivery
    • q. Cleaning and Disinfection
    • r. Delegation of Responsibility
    • s. Disciplinary Policies
    • t. Communication Plan

Part 3: Appendix (11MB)

Complete Biosecurity Toolkit (12MB)

Warning: This is a large document (12MB). We recommend opening individual sections of the document.


To provide the equine industry with resources and tools to assess venues and develop event-specific biosecurity and disease control plans for keeping horses healthy at equine events.

2014 Biosecurity Calendar

Contact Us

Dr. Emily Nietrzeba
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health Branch

1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Phone: (916) 508-3302