Competing FEI or USEF? Timing Procedures and Routine Care Appropriately!


By: Lauren Ray, DVM

Spring is upon us and the competition season is in full swing, our veterinarians would like FEI and USEF competitors to have an easy way to determine if medications can be given and when procedures can be performed before a competition happens. Spring is the time many horses are due for vaccines, dentals, performance exams, and maintenance injections, which can become difficult to schedule and have performed with a heavy show schedule. Many medications needed to perform procedures have withdrawal times of anywhere from one week to four weeks and sometimes longer.


For example, giving phenylbutazone for a minor scrape to prevent swelling would have to be 12hrs or more before showing at USEF events and at least 7 days before for FEI events. Vaccines are also important to time appropriately as both the USEF and FEI events require each horse to be vaccinated for Equine Herpes (Rhinopneumanitis) Virus and Equine Influenza Virus. FEI competitions require the patient to have been vaccinated initially (Day 0), then boostered between day 21 and 92, and then to remain on an every 6 month vaccination schedule or the series must be repeated. USEF competitions require horses to be vaccinated every 6 months. All horses must be vaccinated 7 days prior to arriving on show grounds in order to allow the patient to build up immunity to the viruses.



Having a basic knowledge of the most common medications will help you plan procedures appropriately and make sure that you and your horse(s) are in tip top form and can legally compete. As veterinarians, we want the best for your horse(s) and for them to perform at their very best.

The FEI has a list of detection times located at The USEF drug and medication guidelines can be found at The USEF also has a hotline you can call if you need immediate assistance (800) 633-2472.

In any case, if an owner/rider/trainer are unclear on any of the medication rules then definitely ASK YOUR VETERINARIAN to clarify.

Southern Equine Service