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New rules to make international horse sport “cleaner” came into force yesterday (Monday, 5 April).

The complete restructure of rules by the FEI — the international governing body of horse sport — clarifies “medication” and “doping” substances and introduces a set of tough new penalties for offenders.

Alongside the rule changes are the introduction of an “integrity unit” and an international standard across all laboratories that test random blood samples taken at events.

“This is going to have an effect at all levels of the sport — even at the very basic level,” explained FEI veterinary director Graeme Cooke.

“We now have a starting point of a two-year ban on competiting for the discovery of prohibited drugs. There is a lot at stake here.”

The new lists of banned drugs are available in an online database (at www.feicleansport.org) that anyone can use to find a drug by typing in the first two or three letters of its name.

And riders are now required to fill in a medication logbook for their horses — similar to those kept on racing yards — in which any medication given out of competition must be recorded.

• For more information on the new rules, and how they will affect you, the British rider, don’t miss this Thursday’s issue of Horse & Hound (8 April).