BEF vaccination update – 2.4.2020

The British Equestrian Federation, in conjunction with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and the British Horseracing Association (BHA), has approved a proposal regarding the vaccination schedule for equine influenza in competition horses competing under its member bodies. The move has been made in order to help riders, owners and vets tackle the significant logistical challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and provide clarity for all.

All competitive disciplines under the BEF umbrella currently operate a requirement for an annual booster every 12 months after an initial course of two injections and the first booster injection. This will remain the case throughout 2020, which means that any horse who goes beyond their annual renewal date will be required to start again. The initial vaccination intervals for primary and booster vaccinations will also remain in place as normal.

Those member bodies who have rules in place for six monthly booster injections before competing will look implement a transition period to allow riders to bring vaccinations up to date, once the current suspension of activity is lifted.  This will be communicated to the members of each governing body in due course, when it becomes clearer when competition activity is able to resume.

The BHA has moved to a 12 month booster vaccination requirement, from their policy of nine months, to cover horses racing in the United Kingdom for the remainder of 2020.

Interim BEF Chief Executive Iain Graham commented; “The length of the coronavirus pandemic is unknown but we wanted to provide those who compete with our Member Bodies some clarity on our current position. Equine vets are under strict guidance to carry out emergency work only at present – and as booster vaccinations are classified as routine injections, they will not be carried out.

“We appreciate that some horse owners will fall outside the required 12 month period and will therefore need to start again, which is unfortunate.  However, we cannot allow vaccinations to go beyond 12 months as the efficacy of the vaccine cannot be guaranteed beyond that date.

“Each member body will be outlining their six month booster requirements individually ahead of competition restarting. I’d like to thank our colleagues in BEVA and BHA for their collaboration on this so that much of the equine industry is aligned.”

The Mounted Games Association (GB) Ltd


The Mounted Games Association Vaccination Policy 2020

No Horse or Pony may take part in an MGAGB Event (which includes entering competition stables) unless it has a current vaccination against equine influenza which complies with the following conditions:

  • Two injections for primary vaccination, not less than 21 days and not more than 92 days apart, are required before being eligible to compete;
  • A first booster injection must be given within seven months (not more than 215 days)and specifically between 150-215 days after the second injection of primary vaccination;
  • Subsequent booster injections must be given at intervals of not more than one year, commencing after the first booster injection;
  • In order to compete a horse must be vaccinated in accordance with the above rules and MUST also have had a vaccination within 6 calendar months and 21 daysof the competition, BUT:
    No vaccination of any kind should have been given within the 7 days prior to arrival at the competition site/stables

Example: “If my pony is due for its annual booster in August 2020 and I want to compete MGAGB this season, my pony will need to have a booster before the season starts.  So that any competitions I attend will fall within the six months and 21 day window and I will be covered.”

You do not need to have your pony vaccinated every six months provided it has been vaccinated no more than six months and 21 days prior to the competition. eg  I could have the booster vaccination in April 2020 which would be eight months after the last yearly booster in August 2019 but would cover me for the next six months and 21 days.(ie until approx. end Sept/Oct 2020).

After this, provided you are competing during the main season – April to September, your booster could be annual.