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FEI’s 2024 Rules Revision Process: First draft of proposed rule changes published

Friday, 28 June 2024


Text © World of Showjumping



As part of the FEI’s 2024 Rules Revision Process, a first draft of the proposed rule changes has been published by the FEI Headquarters. National federations and other stakeholders now have until 21 August to submit their feedback. In 2024, only the Equine Anti-Doping & Controlled Medication Regulations will be fully reviewed as per the FEI’s Periodical Rules Revision Policy. 

Jumping Rules

First of all, proposed changes to the FEI Jumping Rules that were rejected by the FEI included suggestions from the German and Swedish national federations regarding tack and equipment. 

“Considering the equine industry’s challenges around their social licence to operate, we would like to submit a proposal on how the transparency and enforceability could be improved," the German proposal explained. "A working group with experts of our NF has developed a list with general remarks and photos of bits and bridles that in our view should be permitted in Jumping. In our experience, publishing only what is allowed leaves less room for discussion and more authority for Stewards; we therefore recommend the same approach for the FEI TackApp." 

The Swedish federation suggested to draw clear lines for permitted and excessive use of the whip, and stated that in this regard the current Jumping Rules are not in line with the social license to operate. “As a minimum, the rules should be acceptable to the public and all stakeholders,” the federation wrote to the FEI about its proposal.

In the feedback to the two proposals, the FEI replied that the FEI Jumping Committee has agreed to discuss the use of equipment, tack and the definitions currently available in the Jumping Rules, but that changes will be discussed with all stakeholders as part of the full revision of the Jumping Rules that will take place in 2025. 

Veterinary Regulations

One of the most noteworthy proposals had been submitted by the Grooms Consultative Group – a group created by the FEI to give grooms a voice – that suggested to make changes to the much-debated art. 1008.6.j in the Veterinary Regulations. “Classes in horse shows should not begin before 7.30am and should be concluded (prize giving included) by 11.30pm at the latest. There should be a minimum of 10 hours between the end of the last class a horse has jumped in and the start of his first class the next day (i.e. a horse that competed in the last class, terminated at 11.30pm cannot compete before 9.30am the following day). Riders from the same Group should have a minimum of 9 hours between competing. (i.e. a rider that has competed finishing at 11.30pm cannot compete before 8.30am the following day)," the Grooms Consultative Group suggested.

Despite this issue being highlighted again and again over the last decade by numerous stakeholders, including grooms and riders, the FEI decided to postpone any decision to 2026. "This matter will be open for discussion in the Full Rules Revision in 2026. Meanwhile, the current rule will be applied," was the FEI’s feedback on this pressing issue.

The Swedish federation had more proposals rejected, when suggesting a ban on treating horses with any substance not listed on the Equine Prohibited Substances List prior to the competition on the day in which they compete or in between rounds or classes, as well as a ban on the use of omeprazole and altrenogest on the days of competition. “According to the FEI Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission (EEWB) one of the Priority Focus areas is Medical Procedures masking health problems/Not fit to Compete. With the current debate on Equine welfare and Social License to Operate (SLO), it is of outmost importance not to allow horses competing on drugs/medications,” the Swedish federation wrote to the FEI. However, the FEI was not in agreement with the proposals and stated that “(…) it believes that it is not in the horse’s best interests to not have access to medication, if needed.”

The German federation proposed a rule change which will prohibit the shaving of the auricles. "Regarding the animal welfare, in addition to the prohibited method of removing the sensory hairs, the shaving of the auricles should also be prohibited. The hairs in the auricles serve as a special protection, for example by preventing insects or other objects from entering the ear,” the German federation stated in its proposal which was accepted by the FEI with a minor edit to the proposed wording for art. 1004.

Proposals put forward by the FEI include recording equine influenza vaccines in the FEI HorseApp, as well as a suggested addition to art. 1035 on how barefoot horses should be presented at a horse inspection. The FEI has also proposed a wider examination of horses under art. 1045 that can be carried out at any time during an event, including checking for the presence of blood on any part of the horse's body. The FEI also wants to limit the cooling with ice to 20 minutes, suggesting to add this to art. 1062 in the Veterinary Regulations.


Proposed changes to the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules – which in 2024 go through a full review – include the addition of out-of-competition testing for horses.

"Further to the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission’s recommendations, provisions regarding Out-of-Competition Testing have been added," the FEI explained in their introduction. "One of the main challenges concerns the consequences and responsibility further to an Out-of-Competition positive sample. While in Endurance it is clear that the Registered Trainer shall be the Person Responsible, it was less obvious and seemed much more complicated to establish responsibilities for the other Disciplines. Discussions and debates occurred during the FEI Sports Forum Session, but there was no real consensus as to who should be the Person Responsible. One of the suggestions that seemed to be accepted was to have the consequences only for the Horse that tested positive (i.e. to impose a Suspension on the Horse). As you know, a Horse that tests positive to an In-Competition Test is currently Provisionally Suspended for a period of two months. This two-month Provisional Suspension is applied further to a Policy established by the FEI Tribunal since 2012. The Policy has been confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and is now widely accepted within the equestrian community. The proposal is to also impose a two-month Suspension on Horses that test positive to an Out-of-Competition test. In Endurance, the Registered Trainer will be considered as the Person Responsible and additional sanctions will apply, taking into account their level of Fault or Negligence. For the other Disciplines, the Person Responsible will be the Horse Owner, mainly in order to have someone to notify of a positive sample, to notify the two-month Suspension of the Horse and related consequences (fines and costs). However, except in Endurance, this means that unless there is any evidence that a specific person has breached the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations for an Out-of-Competition Test, no further consequences will apply to the Person Responsible." 

Similar to the human athletes, whereabout information will be required from horses as well in connection to out-of-competition testing. Other proposed changes to the EADCM rules include adding hair testing and saliva samples to complement blood and urine analysis to prolong the detection window with non-invasive methods. 

General Regulations

From the FEI’s side, proposals to changes to the FEI General Regulations include an option to allocate more than one edition of a FEI Championship to the same organiser, a ban on paying prize money in cash, as well as increased sanctions that enable the FEI to disqualify ranking points and forfeit prizes in cases of fraudulent conduct that affect competition results, while breaches of the FEI Social Media Policy are suggested to be sanctioned with suspensions in the range of three months to five years. 

Simultaneously, several proposals from IJRC, EEF and the Italian, German, Swedish and Japanese national federations were rejected by the FEI. 

Any comments to the proposed changes can only be submitted online via FEI's Rule Revision Platform until 21 August. 

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