Dear Clubs and Eventing members,The Hendra By-Law implementation has been delayed.Why?• The science relating to Hendra Virus has been made even more confusing by the most recent study. The recently published journal looking into the risk factors has used some mathematical modelling to determine the risk of horses getting Hendra and subsequently the risk of human infection. The flying fox bats, that are the natural host, are identified and it appears that some species have a stronger link to known cases of Hendra. The paper looked at horse population, climate and vegetation variables but importantly suggests that there are additional risk factors, including on farm factors. Further study is being undertaken to investigate these risk factors. Hopefully within the 8-12 weeks period further scientific data will be available to assist the revised by-law. There will always be a need for assessment of risk of Hendra Virus -there is no effective treatment of the virus in both horses and humans and so the commitment to vaccination is the only way to proceed.• Many responsible horse owners have vaccinated their horses and it is likely that horses once fully vaccinated, initially, will only require further vaccination every 12 months. This information will also have an effect on the future by-law.How does this affect horse owners?• Horse owners that have vaccinated are happy in the knowledge that their horses are protected and most importantly that their family, friends and employees are safe. • The likely change to the vaccination timetable will be financially welcomed.• Owners who have partially vaccinated or not commenced on a vaccination program are reminded that their entry to competitions and venues do not have to be accepted.• The vaccine currently has a permit for Vets to administer it and all adverse reactions are required to be reported. The vaccine will obtain full registration but this will take time and requires that extensive data is available. It is not a valid argument to suggest that owners should not vaccinate until it is registered, the more horses that are vaccinated the more data available to assist in creating the lowest possible risk of Hendra Virus affecting animals or humans. • Owners should not rely on protecting their horses or family by assuming other horses at a venue are vaccinated. The more horses that are vaccinated at a venue the less likely that we will jeopardise the life of a horse or human from the virus.What does this mean to your Clubs?• Organising Committees need to carefully consider their own risk management regarding their competitions carefully.• Eventing NSW recommends that all organisers consult with their venue owners and obtain as much information as possible to allow for informed decisions.• It is not only important to consider the venues geographical location to known flying-fox roosts, but to also consider the implications to the land owners, other horses residing or using the venue if the Hendra Virus was brought in.• Clubs may choose to only accept entries from fully vaccinated horses. (A Hendra Vaccinated Event for all)• Clubs may choose to require that horses from some geographical areas are fully vaccinated. Possibly the eastern coast of Australia from far north Queensland to the central coast of New South Wales, or maybe southern Queensland to Northern NSW, a distance of approx. 300klms that has had multiple equine infections.• Clubs whose venue is located in a known flying-fox area should consider carefully the risk of accepting horses that are not vaccinated and any insurance implications.• Registered horses can easily be checked with the Zoetis database, contact Eventing NSW for more information regarding administration of HVE.