Bute may not be allowed in competition for another year, following moves by the FEI to quell the row threatening to split the world of horse sport.

Princess Haya, president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), has done about turn by asking national federations to agree to “time out” on the issue. She wants the issue of allowing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in horse sport to be debated at the 2010 general assembly.

In a letter sent out to national federations on Friday evening, Princess Haya acknowledged both those for and against the use of bute and other NSAIDs in competition have strong opinions.

“Unfortunately, the division of opinion is so deep and so passionate, that it threatens to divide our federation,” she said. “This is not an outcome we can accept.”

Princess Haya has suggested to the federations that all other rules in the FEI’s clean sport programme are implemented on 1 January, 2010, but over the next year more research and consultation is carried out on the issue of NSAIDs in horse sport.

“I give you my word that this issue will be table in the form of a policy choice for the general assembly in 2010,” she said.

On 19 November, the FEI general assembly narrowly voted in Copenhagen to allow bute and other NSAIDs to be used in competition.

Last Tuesday, the FEI suggested delaying the introduction of the new rules until April.

• For reaction and debate, read this Thursday’s issue of Horse & Hound.