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Letter from the FEI : Dressage and blood

In response to the article written by Cl. Carde and published yesterday in our magazine, untitled "Dressage : blood and tears", the FEI has sent us the following letter, that we are happy to publish, our concern having aways been to pay the greatest attention to everyone's point of view, in the common aim of horse welfare.

Dear Laetitia,

Please see below statement in response to your article : Dressage : blood and tears.

19 October 2011
FEI Dressage Committee says no to blood 


The FEI has never, and will never, allow any horse with blood anywhere on its body to remain in the Dressage arena.

As the current Dressage rules are not specific on the issue of blood, the FEI Dressage Committee, in June of this year, proposed a new rule clarifying that Dressage tests would be stopped immediately if blood appears anywhere on the horse in the arena. The proposal from the Dressage Committee, which will be voted on at the FEI General Assembly next month states this very clearly.

Hannovrian in Equita'lyon
Hannovrian in Equita'lyon. © Benutzerin:BS Thurner Hof/Wikipédi

The only proposed exception to this rule would be at the following top level events : Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games™, Continental Championships at Grand Prix level and World Cup™ Finals. If blood is seen on a horse at these top level events, the test would be stopped immediately, but FEI veterinary officials would examine the horse when it is leaving the arena. If the bleeding from a minor injury has already stopped, and the FEI veterinarian confirms that it is not a horse welfare issue, the horse would be allowed to continue the test. If the bleeding has not stopped, or the FEI veterinarian could not confirm that it is not a welfare issue, the horse would be eliminated.

This is the only exception that has been proposed, and would still result in a test being stopped if blood is seen on a horse, but allows for examination by an FEI veterinarian specifically appointed to this task. At all other events bleeding would result in immediate elimination.

The FEI Dressage Committee has presented this proposed rule to all National Federations. The Committee has also made National Federations aware of the views of the International Dressage Riders Club, International Dressage Officials Club, the Association of International Dressage Event Organisers and other parties on this proposed rule.

The National Federations are currently reviewing the proposal. 

As always, proposed rules revisions are presented for National Federation approval at the FEI General Assembly for implementation on 1 January the following year.

This statement is also available on the FEI website.

Kind regards

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations

The point of view of Cheval Savoir

The Editor of Cheval Savoir greatly appreciates the proposal and engagement of the FEI on this most important subject, and the FEI's concern about horse welfare, according to the founding texts of the FEI.

Nevertheless, we remain rather doubtful about the real possiblities of having the proposed new rule really applicated during an event, especially during a top-level competition with high media coverage.

We think it would be accurate to avoid having to apply this rule too often, and therefore we suggest to have controls restored before the test (by checking the bits, the tightening of the noseband and the spots where the horse's coat is worn...) and to have these controls carried on as often and as thoroughly as necessary, just as FEI suggests in its proposal.

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Article publié le 19-10-2011

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