The US Equestrian Federation (USEF) has halved the amount of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) permitted in competition horses.

From December 2011, the equivalent of only one sachet of bute will be allowed in national equestrian competition, as opposed to two which has been allowed up until now.

A statement released yesterday by the USEF equine drugs and medication programme said:

“Over the years ongoing veterinary research has revealed that not only is there little or no benefit to administering more than one NSAID to a horse for most medical concerns, it can actually cause potentially harmful, even severe side effects.”

To ease riders, vets and owners into the new rule, anyone administering two sachets of bute to a horse within five days of taking part in affiliated competition must file a NSAID disclosure form with the event.

The about-turn is likely to cause considerable comment among the horse world — particularly from those who are against the use of NSAIDs in equestrian sport.

The USEF voted in support of the International Equestrian Federation’s (FEI) plans to re-introduce NSAIDs in to horse sport last November.

The FEI’s decision on the levels to be allowed — the equivalent of two sachets of bute — was based on existing USEF rules.