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Changes in the FEI Veterinary Regulations for 2019

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Changes have been made to the FEI Veterinary Regulations for 2019. 

These regulations are at the very core of the rules that need to be followed at international events, as is clearly stated in the general principles of the regulations – which reads as follows:

“General Principles

1. All International Events must be organised according to the FEI Statutes, the FEI General Regulations (GRs), the Veterinary Regulations (VRs) and the relevant Sport Rules, which include the supervision and maintenance of the health and welfare of all Horses taking part.”

One of the changes in the FEI Veterinary Regulations involves clipping/shaving. Clipping and/or shaving of the horses’ legs at a FEI event will no longer be allowed without a permission from the Veterinary Commission/ Veterinary Delegate, with a sanction of disqualification of the horse from the event if the rule is not followed. Permission is only granted for vet purposes before treatment or investigation. This change can be found in article 1004, which lists ‘Prohibited Methods’ and reads as follows:

"Article 1004 Prohibited Methods

1. Horses are not permitted to compete in FEI Events:

a)  with hyposensitive or hypersensitive areas of the body;

b)  with a tracheotomy/tracheostomy (i.e. a surgical opening through the skin into

the trachea);

c)  following gene doping (i.e. the non-therapeutic use of cells, genes, genetic

elements or the modulation of gene expression having the capacity to improve


d) following any form of genetic modification;

e) following blood doping, or similar methods (e.g. ozone haemotherapy),

f) with any object that punctures the skin with the exception of wound closure


g) wearing contact lenses unless permission has been granted from the FEI Veterinary Department; and

h) if the hair on their limbs has been clipped and/or shaven at any point during their presence at an FEI Event site. Permission must be granted from the VC/VD by the PTV for clipping and/or shaving required for veterinary purposes, prior to any investigation or treatment taking place." 

Another change in the FEI Veterinary Regulations mostly affects the team veterinarians, the athlete's private veterinarians and permitted equine therapists, as they now must submit a PTV (Permitted Treating Veterinarian)/PET (Permitted Equine Therapist) registration form at FEI events – ref. article 1106.7, 1107.6 and 1127.5. 

When it comes to the use of lasers, nothing has changed from 2018. Class 1, 2 and 3 lasers are listed as non-restricted supportive therapies – meaning they can be used in accordance with the wording of article 1064 – whereas class 4 lasers are prohibited for use at FEI events, ref. article 1067.

The FEI Veterinary Regulations 2019 can be found under this link, with the mark-up version easily showing all changes that have been made.

As the Code of Conduct of these regulations suggests, everyone has to keep up to date with the rules and regulations within the sport:

“5. Education:

The FEI urges all those involved in equestrian sport to attain the highest possible levels of education in areas of expertise relevant to the care and management of the Competition Horse.

This Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse may be modified from time to time and the views of all are welcomed. Particular attention will be paid to new research findings and the FEI encourages further funding and support for welfare studies.”


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