Equine Flu Vaccinations - the rules when competing

Do you know your flu vaccination rules for competitions? Lots have changed this year, and different organisations have rules that do not match. In some cases some venues have different rules too!

The main changes are from the 1st January 2024 any horses starting their flu vaccinations must fit new intervals for their primary (starting or restarting) course of vaccines to be able to compete.

I’ve put together a list of organisations and their current rules for vaccination - many of you will already know about these if you attend their events, but please check if you are not sure!

This is not a complete list but I’ve summarised Pony Club, Riding Club, BD, BSJA, BE and FEI below, please make sure to check your rule book - as these can change!

First a few notes!!

These rules are correct as of Febuary 2024 - these rules may change so please don’t rely on this blog as gospel and check your rule book if you are competing.
Some organisations have leeway for historical errors in vaccination history - check the rules or contact them for advice if there are historical errors.
International level competitions (usually run under FEI) will follow the FEI vaccination requirements, not BSJA / BE etc, as do some events held at racecourses.

Finally some of the rule books state that if there is a flu outbreak they will return to mandatory 6 monthly vaccinations to compete.

Nearly all have the same new basic rules:

  • A primary vaccination course - first vaccination followed by a second vaccination given not less than 21 days and not more than 60 days after the first vaccination (we advise that they are given 4-6 weeks apart).
  • The first booster vaccination (some call this 3rd vaccine) given not less than 120 days and not more than 180 days after the second vaccination and further booster vaccinations at intervals of not more than a year apart (we advise give this booster 5 to 6 months after second vaccination).
  • You cannot compete until the first two vaccines are completed.
  • Many do not allow you to compete within 7 days of a vaccine (the day of the vaccine and an additional 6 days).
  • Historic vaccines - starting course prior to 1st Jan 2024:
    • Primary vaccination course 21-92 days apart
    • First booster (third vaccine) up to 7 months following the date of the administration of the second vaccine
    • Some organisations accept that during the flu vaccine shortage (Oct - Dec 2022) an interval of 15 months is acceptable between flu vaccines, however the following vaccine must be given at 9 months. This would make two vaccines within 24 months from the 2021 date to the 2023 date.
    • Horse starting their vaccinations prior to 2005 - second vaccine to first booster may be up to 12 months, varies by organisiations.

Pony Club: 

  • Basic rules as above
  • Then annual boosters at a maximim 12 month interval
  • You cannot compete a week after the first two vaccines are completed.
  • No horse/pony may compete on the same day as a vaccination is given or on any of the 6 days following such an injection.
  • At some competitions the most recent booster injection must have been given within the six calendar months prior to the date of the competition.
  • Courses starting prior to 1st Jan 2024:
    • As above

Riding Club:

  • As Pony Club above - other than
  • Courses starting prior to 1st Jan 2024 the second to third vaccination interval is 150 - 215 days (not up to 7 months)

British Dressage

  • As above other than:
  • Second to third vaccine interval is stated as 'within 6 months' (not 180 days)
  • The full primary course or booster must have been administered at least seven days before arriving at the competition.
  • They recommend vaccines within 6 months +21 days of the competition


  • As basic rules above

British Eventing:

  • Subsequent booster injections must be given at intervals of not more than one year, commencing after the first booster injection - AND
  • In order to compete a horse must be vaccinated in accordance with the above rules and MUST also have had a vaccination within 6 calendar months and 21 days of the competition;
  • British Eventing does not recognise an extended vaccination interval in Oct-Dec 2022 so all booster vaccines must be less than 12 months interval

FEI (international competitions)

  • Booster vaccinations must be administered at a maximum of 12 month intervals, however horses competing in Events must have received a booster within 6 months +21 days (and not within 7 days) before arrival at the Event.
  • Horses that have received the Primary Course prior to 1 January 2005 are not required to fulfil the requirement for the first booster, providing there has not been an interval of more than 12 months between each of their subsequent annual booster vaccinations.