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Posted by National Admin on 04/02/2019.
Guillaume Béguin

Equestrian Australia’s Hot Weather Policy – Information for Organising Committees

As a number of states are currently experiencing extreme environmental conditions, Equestrian Australia wishes to remind organising committees of the hot weather policy which can be found on the EA website here: EA Hot Weather Policy

When environmental heat conditions are adverse, exercising horses require appropriate cooling measures to safeguard their welfare. To assess the risk of heat stress in horses, the FEI and EA use the Web Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) Index. This not only takes into account environmental temperature and humidity, but also factors such as air movement and radiant heat. A table to estimate the WBGT is available within the EA Hot Weather Policy as well as detailed recommendations on changes which should be made by organising committees and minimum cooling requirements which should be made available.

Please be aware that a WBGT index > 33 is considered high risk environmental conditions and potentially not compatible with safe competition – veterinary advice is needed and the event will often need to be cancelled or postponed. As a general guideline, a WBGT index > 33 can be associated with a temperature of 32°C with relative humidity of 60%. When the temperature is 40°C, even a much lower relative humidity of 25% can create conditions that are not compatible with safe competition.

WBGT thermometers are available online from a number of sites – these thermometers automatically calculate the WBGT index for you and can be a valuable aid for organising committees when holding events in extreme environmental conditions.

At the FEI Sports Forum in 2018, the FEI presented an educational session on Optimising Performance in Challenging Climates. These sessions are available to view on the FEI website and the relevant documents can be accessed via the following FEI links: 

Optimising Performance in a Challenging Climate

Management of Horses in Hot Weather

Dr Kirsten Neil

FEI National Head Veterinarian

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