USEF Suspends Competitions in California for 14 Days

From US Equestrian Communications Department

Lexington, Ky. – USEF continues to work closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), competition organizers, and participants to manage the EHV-1 situation in CA and provide updates to membership. The information provided below is based on information available to USEF at the time of distribution.

In an effort to mitigate the risk of further spread of EHV-1, all USEF Licensed competitions in CA are suspended for the next 14 days. In line with the CDFA release today, USEF does not have any hunter/jumper competitions taking place for the next 28 days. USEF appreciates the collaboration of organizers to cancel events to support this effort.  As the return to competition protocols are implemented, more horses will be tested which will result in more positive test results for horses. EHV-1 lives dormant in many horses. The increase in positives is expected as we test asymptomatic horses for EHV-1. The additional testing will allow the USEF community to mitigate the spread of the virus and safeguard horses.

Dr. Nicola Pusterla, Professor Medicine and Epidemiology, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine explained, “We all recognize that horses with clinical EHV-1 disease (fever, nasal discharge and even neurological signs) are high risk when it comes to risk of transmission. What most people forget is that infection does not always translate into disease, meaning that adult horses can shed EHV-1 without displaying any abnormal clinical signs.

The expected increase in confirmed positive EHV-1 cases is not necessarily alarming if the horse is asymptomatic.

As a further measure to protect horses and facilitate tracking, USEF will be providing an EHV-1 Declaration Form to competitions for competitors to complete when they arrive on competition grounds. USEF will also make available an EHV-1 Test Result Form to be submitted to along with evidence of negative test results. These documents will be required under the return to competition protocol in order to get a horse’s ineligibility status lifted. This return to competition protocol applies to any horse that has been on the DIHP or Rancho Murieta showgrounds, or any horse that has been exposed to a horse confirmed positive for EHV-1 off competition grounds in the past 14 days. This will allow the horse to be released from the EHV-1 Ineligibility List.

FEI Return to Competition Protocols
In order for a horse to return to FEI competition, the following requirements must be met:

  • FEI horses MUST have a negative EHV-1 PCR test to return to competition
  • •Two negative PCR tests within 14 days, one at Day 7 and one at Day 14 OR
  • •One negative PCR test within 21 days, at Day 21 

USEF Return to (National) Competition Protocols
In order for a horse to return to USEF (National) competition, the following requirements must be met:

  • •Two negative PCR tests within 14 days, one at Day 7 and one at Day 14 OR
  • •One negative PCR test within 21 days, at Day 21 OR
  • •28 days without a test, if the horse has been isolated for a minimum of 28 days 

It is critical that everyone follow biosecurity protocols in order for this situation to improve. Please note that the USEF protocols for testing to return to competition may be more extensive than those of the CDFA.

If you have questions on the USEF protocols, please email USEF at For additional information, please refer to the California Department of Food and Agriculture and Equine Disease Communication Center websites.