Regional Representation for Americas


2nd Regional Conference for the Americas Facilitation of International Competition Horse Movement

Progress Toward The Implementation of The High Health High Performance Concept in the Americas

The 2nd Regional Conference for the Americas on the Facilitation of International Competition Horse Movement was held in Medellín (Colombia) from 1st to 3rd December 2015. It was organized by the Regional Representation for the Americas of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in collaboration with the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA), and the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), with the support of the Government of Colombia.

The Conference was attended by 75 participants, 48 which were representatives of the Veterinary Services of 21 countries of the Americas, 14 participants from ten National Equestrian Federations or National Horseracing Authorities, 3 participants from three International Organizations, 6 speakers and 4 representatives of the OIE. 

The overall objective of the Conference was to discuss and identify possibilities to harmonize the existing regulations regarding the movement of International Competition Horses in order to facilitate their temporary exportation and importation, in line with OIE intergovernmental science based standards and guidelines with a special emphasis on the newly adopted concept of “High Health, High Performance (HHP)” horses.

Medellin (Colombia), 5 December 2015 - Nowadays, the international movement of competition horses is a frequent practice globally. Presently, the region of the Americas has a substantial horse industry, and yet faces a number of challenges that impede the free and safe international movements of competition horses as well as expansion of the equine industry. Reliable certification of horses in accordance with OIE Standards for the control of equine diseases, recognized diagnostic tests as well as the quality of the national Veterinary Services responsible for certification integrity are most important to facilitate the safe movement of international competition horses. 

In order to address these constraints, the OIE, the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) formed a public-private partnership to develop the “high health, high performance horse (HHP)” concept. The foundation of this concept is the creation of a sub-population of “high health, high performance” horses, with special sanitary characteristics that will allow their safe international temporary movement. It is based on existing OIE standards and principles - regarding zoning and compartmentalisation, biosecurity, identification and traceability, health certification – which are described in the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Section 4; Section 5), and which have been adapted for application to a sub-population of high health status horses. 

The Americas region has demonstrated a strong interest for the HHP concept: 95% of the countries are interested in implementing the HHP concept . This Conference, the 2nd of its kind in the Americas following the Conference held in Panama in 2012, gathered Veterinary Services and representatives of National Equestrian Federations and National Horse Racing Authorities from the region to discuss the HHP concept and how they could collaborate most effectively to implement it in the Americas, as appropriate. 

The discussions were based on the biosecurity guidelines published in the OIE Handbook for the management of High Health High Performance Horses, the sis primary equine diseases selected for certification, the HHP Veterinary Certificate and the different steps of the implementation of the concept involving the national Veterinary Services and the horse industry. The establishment of Equine Disease Free Zones “EDFZs” or compartments at international venues, as for example the Olympic games in 2016 in Rio (Brazil) were also highlighted.

The participants confirmed their willingness to implement the HHP concept in the region in the near future, and to overcome current challenges, primarily by:

• Strengthening the collaboration between the Veterinary Services and the horse industry;

• Adapting the legal framework in the subregions, as necessary according to the OIE guidelines for the implementation of the HHP concept;

• Strengthening the laboratory capacities for the diagnosis of the priority diseases for the HHP concept;

• Supporting training activities and raising awareness of all relevant stakeholders in the region. 

To progress toward the implementation of the HHP concept in the region, the participants also expressed their desire for a pilot event to be held to field test this new concept, and several countries volunteered to host such a pilot event in 2017.

The overall outcome of the discussions led to the unanimous adoption of recommendations for the future implementation of the HHP concept in the Americas.


Further information:

OIE Facilitation of International Competition Horse Movement Portal

OIE Handbook for the management of High Health High Performance Horses

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