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Earlier this week British Dressage announced that they were changing there vaccination rules from 12 months to 6 months. While this rule was already in place for the FEI and for horse racing, it has caused a bit of a stir among BD riders.
Equine Flu Still Here
At the beginning of the year there was an outbreak of equine flu with the racing industry pausing all racing for a few days while they tried to contain it within their horses. There was a bit of panic in the wider equine industry with competitions being cancelled and vets recommending 6 month boosters for horses who are regularly out and about.
We are now in September and the hype around the flu outbreak has died down but it hasn’t gone away. There are still regular cases of the flu and I think July was the worst month this year for flu outbreaks. So it really hasn’t gone away at all. But for many people, they have stopped thinking about it.
Not only is the flu still around, but there has been a lot of confusion about what vaccinations you need as different venues are asking for different things. Some BD venues have been accepting 6 months and others the standard 12 months. This new rule will end the confusion as all BD venues will need 6 month vaccinations.
So whats the problem?
Lots of people have taken to Facebook to complain about the new rule and for most of them, I am struggling to see why. Yes some horses do have a bad reaction to the vaccination, but these horses are the minority. If you are taking your horse out regularly, surely you want them to have all the protection possible. Fair enough, flu doesn’t tend to be life threatening. But it isn’t nice and due to it causing secondary respiratory conditions, it can take your horse a long time to get over it.
I have seen a lot of people saying that this is the nail in the coffin for BD for them and that they won’t be renewing their membership. But with the Riding Club also requesting 6 month vaccinations and many unaffiliated venues also wanting 6 months, I’m not sure where they are hoping to compete with more and more organisations expecting these 6 monthly vaccinations.
What do you think about BDs new rule change?