Know your dope rules

If you want to compete in ESNZ / FEI events, you have to know the rules about what you can give your horse.

Testing Officials were at the Horse of the Year show
Testing Officials were at the Horse of the Year show


This good advice was given by the FEI regarding substances that could be administered to horses. Most people already heed these words but if you are competing in ESNZ / FEI events, how do you know what can be administered to your horse and what can not?

The FEI website has an up-to-date list, called the “Equine Prohibited Substances List” (EPSL). This is a  list of Banned Substances and Controlled Medication. Banned Substances are not permitted for use in a competition at any time. The FEI describes them as having no legitimate use in the competition horse and/or having a high potential for abuse. Controlled Medication is substances that have therapeutic value and/or are commonly used in equine medicine but may have the potential to affect performance and/or be a welfare risk to the horse. Here is the link to take you directly to that information.

The FEI has also just launched its new Clean Sport website, which has been redesigned to be more user-friendly. It contains updated educational resources and new videos explaining how testing works and the principles of Clean Sport. Click here to directly access the website.

Medication administered before an event should be checked to see whether or not it is prohibited. If so, there will be a withdrawal time which must be observed before competing. The FEI publishes a list of detection times and it’s advisable to work with your vet in this type of situation.

Herbal warning

Herbal supplements and products, of which the ingredients are unknown, can contain substances which affect the performance of the horse, usually by calming, (tranquillising), or energising, (stimulating). The use of a calming product during competition may also have important safety consequences.

Devil’s claw now banned

A recent change has seen a commonly used herb added to the banned substances list. Harpagophytum or “devil’s claw” is widely used as a natural anti-inflammatory, but may also be present in other natural products without being listed as an ingredient. If listed, its common trade names are Harpagoside, NoBute, Buteless, Devil’s Relief, Nil-Bute. Devil’s claw is also known as grapple plant and wood spider.

The Person Responsible (PR) for a horse has the legal responsibility for that horse. This means that if banned substances are found after testing, the PR is accountable.

If you need more information, you can also head to the ESNZ website which contains the ESNZ Anti-Doping Rules. Be safe – be informed.

Thanks to Judy Haskell, Rules Liaison, ESNZ Eventing for providing most of the information for this article.