Your horse has green hay slime coming out his mouth right before a horse-show class. A kind groom sees you’re in a pinch and hands you a rag to clean your horse up. Stop! That rag might harbor dangerous pathogens that could sicken—or even kill—your horse. Here's how to reduce your horse's risk of picking up a disease via equipment at an event.

Biosecurity Risk: Infectious pathogens can be spread on shared equipment, such as grooming supplies, wipe rags, water buckets, hoses, and tack.

While some facilities and organizers discourage sharing, others don't. And depending on the protocols facilities have in place, the biosecurity risk to your horse can range from minor to major, or be somewhere in between:

  • High Biosecurity Risk—Many participants share equipment, and the facility hasn't posted signs or doesn't have a policy discouraging shared equipment use.

  • Medium Biosecurity Risk—The facility has posted signs to discourage equipment sharing at the event grounds, but no communication of policy to participants before the event.

  • Minimal Biosecurity Risk— Event staff communication to participants before the event to discourage equipment sharing and has posted signs at the event grounds.

Biosecurity Fix: If you're hosting, communicate to participants before and during the event to discourage equipment sharing. If you're attending, bring equipment for each of your horses, and only use that equipment on your horses. Also, don't allow anyone else to use your equipment for other horses, an