The Best Horse Show Biosecurity Practice

Avoiding nose-to-nose contact with other horses at shows is the best way to protect your horse from diseases. Here’s why.

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Emergency 911: Horse Show Edition
Never let your horse make direct contact with another horse or a surface another horse has touched at hors shows. | Kevin Thompson/The Horse

Q. What is the number one biosecurity tip for horse owners and exhibitors that will help them keep their horses safe at shows?

A. Always keep your horse’s vaccinations up-to-date—this is the minimum requirement for going to horse shows. Otherwise, always avoid nose-to-nose contact with other horses. That is not just the two pony hunters waiting at the in-gate waiting for the next person to go, and the ponies want to meet. That should never happen. But that also means if you’re going to tie your horse up and give him a bath at a common wash rack and tie him to a railing, wipe the railing off before you let your horse touch it. Some other horse has been there and has nuzzled that so it is nose-to-nose contact by way of a tie.

With horses that are very social and want to meet other horses, you just have to be firm and refrain from allowing them to have nose-to-nose contact with other horses.


Written by:

Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM, is an equine extension veterinarian and professor at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, where she also serves as director of the preveterinary advising program. She specializes in veterinary preventative medicine.

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