FEI’s HorseApp upgraded for EHV-1 competition return protocols

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Stringent biosecurity measures and mitigation plans are part of the FEI's Return to Competition measures.
Stringent biosecurity measures and mitigation plans are part of the FEI’s Return to Competition measures. Pictured is  Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB after winning the FEI Dressage World Cup in Salzburg, Austria, in January 2021. © FEI/Łukasz Kowalski

The FEI will be keeping a close eye on horse health and movements with an upgrade to its mobile HorseApp. The addition of four modules to the app will provide improved monitoring of Return to Competition measures as international equestrian sport resumes in mainland Europe this week following the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) outbreak.

Key areas covered by the FEI’s Return to Competition protocols, which were launched on March 30, include advance PCR testing (for certain designated events only), temperature monitoring of horses as well as enhanced Examination on Arrival procedures. Stringent biosecurity measures and mitigation plans, in line with the FEI Veterinary Regulations, also form part of the measures.

The measures include several temporary provisions that will remain in place until May 30, providing a science-based safety margin to allow for monitoring of any further related outbreaks. This date can be extended if required.

The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group has already agreed that there is currently no evidence indicating that it would be unsafe to return to international competition in mainland Europe as planned, provided the mandated enhanced preventive measures are implemented. But the group will continue to monitor the evolution of the outbreaks on a daily basis.

“The recent EHV-1 outbreak has underscored the importance of early detection and prevention in disease transmission,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström said.

“The FEI HorseApp is a crucial tool to facilitate the traceability of horses attending FEI Events, as well as for data gathering to allow for better risk assessment analysis and informed decision-making. It is a key element in ensuring a safe return to competition today and in minimising the impact of a disease outbreak in the future.”

The FEI HorseApp will be used for uploading negative PCR results for designated events. In addition, the FEI Veterinarian conducting the Examination on Arrival will scan the horse’s microchip with a reader connected via Bluetooth to the FEI HorseApp, and also record the horse’s temperature in the FEI HorseApp.

Under the Return To Competition measures, it will also be compulsory for all horses to be officially checked out at the Show Office using the app. This ensures traceability should a disease outbreak occur.

FEI Director Information & Sports Technology Gaspard Dufour said that data-driven technologies were a key part of the solution to the EHV-1 outbreak.

“We have been able to use the existing functionalities of the FEI HorseApp to actively monitor horse movement and horse health status and added new modules that provide for a safer return to competition.

“But importantly, the collection of this quantitative data is critical to tracking the evolution of the disease and allows us to make better informed decisions concerning the smart and safe resumption of equestrian sporting activities,” Dufour said.

» The FEI HorseApp is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play for Android devices.

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