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Facilitation of International Competition Horse Movement



Challenges to the worldwide expansion of the sport horse industry

 The international movement of competition horses is nowadays a frequent practice globally. Since the 1960s, equestrian events have experienced a significant growth resulting in millions of horses that travelled from one country to another for different reasons. Nevertheless, when analyzing the number and regions where International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) and International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) approved events are held, it is noticeable that the equine sport has grown mainly in Europe and North America, but has faced obstacles to expand in other regions. This can partly be attributed to difficulties in the health certification requirements for sport horses to other countries (e.g. burdensome and unwarranted sanitary regulations, extensive and time consuming quarantine and laboratory testing and the lack of regulations for temporary importation).


OIE, FEI, IFHA partnership for the facilitation of international competition horse movement

 In 2013, in response to a growing demand from countries for help in improving cross-border movement of top-level sport horses, the OIE, the FEI and the IFHA engaged in a public-private partnership. This collaboration aims at establishing a specific and practical framework in line with OIE science based standards to enable countries and regions to harmonise their provisions for temporary importation and re-entry of competition horses while minimising the risk of transboundary disease transmission. Strengthening the collaboration between the National Veterinary Services and the industry partners and other relevant professionals, including veterinarians and other experts, is crucial to facilitate the safe international movement of sport horses


An ad hoc Group (AHG) on International Horse Movement for Equestrian Sport was established by the OIE in 2013 and has met on a regular basis. It brings together stakeholders from the private sector (i.e. representatives of FEI and IFHA), equine disease experts from the academic world and from diagnostic and research laboratories, regulatory representatives, and OIE Specialist Commissions.

 International OIE standards and guidelines

General principles of the High health, High Performance (HHP) horse concept, as well as supporting information on the management and biosecurity measures for these horses, have been developed by OIE experts for all over the world (ad hoc group).

The description of the general principles for the establishment of a High health status horse subpopulation was adopted by the national Delegates of the 180 OIE Member Countries during their annual World Assembly in May 2014 (Terrestrial Animal Health Code - Chapter 4.16). A revised version of this Code Chapter was adopted in 2015.

OIE Guidelines for the management of HHP horses, including detailed biosecurity provisions and a Model HHP Veterinary Certificate, have also been developed in support of the implementation of the concept and will be subject to continuous improvement (HHP handbook).

Research projects for the development or improvement of diagnostic tests and vaccines for equine diseases of importance for safe international movement and health certification, such as equine influenza, glanders, and African horse sickness have been funded, and will deliver results by 2017.


 + OIE Handbook for the management of High Health High Performance Horses
+ HHP disease risk mitigation strategies
+ FEI:
+ Agreement with the FEI and the OIE
+ Agreement with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA)
+ Up in the air, Breeding and Racing, November 2014
+ V.E. Unt. Sports forum: international movement of horses. Equine Veterinary Journal, 2014, 46(3) 262-263