THE Three Counties Showground in Malvern says that any horses attending events there must have been vaccinated against equine flu within the six months before the event.

The measure has been put in place following expert advice after a recent UK outbreak of the disease.

Equine flu recently shut down the racing industry for six days, with restrictions in movement put into place and a host of events cancelled.

Now the International Federation for Equestrian Sports has issued guidelines

The highly-contagious disease causes respiratory tract problems that can cause permanent harm if not diagnosed and treated.

Head of shows Diana Walton, said the new measures had been put into place to help protect horses.

“Equine flu is a serious concern to anyone involved in the industry and, as a responsible organisation, we have to play our part.”

“After taking guidance from our team of highly-experienced equine experts we have decided that we have no alternative options but to enforce the FEI guidelines. This means that any horse, pony, donkey or mule attending an event at the showground must have been vaccinated as per the FEI requirements.

"“Equine entries will have their passports checked and any animals found not to be complying with the FEI vaccination rules will not be allowed to enter the showground.

“We know how passionate the equine community is about the welfare of its animals and we’re counting on people’s support on this matter.”

The FEI guidelines state that booster vaccinations must be administered at a maximum of 12 month intervals however, horses competing in events must have received a booster within six months and 21 days - and not within seven days - before arrival at the event.