The international equestrian federation FEI has canceled almost all international competitions until March 28 due to the outbreak of the dangerous rhinopneumonia virus.

The measure affects ten countries on the European mainland, including the Netherlands, the Dutch association KNHS reports.

The top event Dutch Masters, formerly Indoor Brabant, that would start next week is also prohibited.

As the only exception, the multi-week events that have already started at this point may continue.

This was partly decided to prevent a lot of horses from being moved at the same time.

The outbreak of the rhinopneumonia virus started more than a week ago at the international show in Valencia.

There are now related outbreaks in several countries, including France, England and Germany.

The FEI speaks of the worst outbreak in decades.

In Valencia there were 25 horses from the Netherlands.

Thirteen of them are back in their own stable.

FEI will cancel almost all European competitions until March 28 - https://t.co/a3PdVzu7St

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Avatar Author KNHS Netherlands Moment of places 22: 12 - 1 March 2021

At least four horses have died

According to a spokesperson for the KNHS, it is a very contagious virus.

"The virus has several variants, the complaints can vary from mild cold complaints to serious neurological symptoms. The neurological symptoms can lead to death."

Most horses have been vaccinated against the disease, but that is not 100 percent certainty.

The FEI has now sent 21 veterinarians to Valencia to help the sick animals and assist the two local veterinarians.

Four horses are known to have died of the virus, 84 horses show symptoms and eleven are being treated in clinics in Valencia and Barcelona.

For the Dutch Masters it means the second consecutive cancellation.

Last season, the event in the Brabanthallen was canceled at the last minute due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Now the games would be held without an audience.