Vote will decide new ‘blood rule’ for international dressage

  • International dressage’s long-running debate about whether a horse should be eliminated if blood is seen could be drawing to a close.

    At horse sport body the FEI’s general assembly, due to take place today (8 November) in Istanbul, equestrian nations are to vote on the wording of a new rule.

    There is currently no statute specifically for blood on the horse.

    Under the wording, if the judge at C suspects blood anywhere on the horse, he will stop it to check. If the horse shows fresh blood, it will be eliminated. If it is old blood, the horse may be allowed to continue.

    An FEI vet will examine the horse before its next test if it is due to compete in the next few days of the show.

    Some riders and dressage groups seem pleased with the new wording, but others are still unhappy.

    Wayne Channon of the International Dressage Riders Club said: “We feel the rule as drafted is fine.”

    But the International Dressage Trainers Club feels it could prove unfair. And Irish rider Dane Rawlins pointed out: “The new wording means that a simple horsefly bite could mean disqualification.”

    Adelinde Cornelissen’s Parzival was eliminated at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, because he had blood around his mouth.

    He had nicked his tongue, which healed quickly.

    But it transpired that no FEI rule specifically covered the issue of bleeding.

    A rule formulated last year would have allowed a horse to resume competition if a vet felt the injury was minor. But it prompted vociferous opposition from some dressage figures.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (8 November 2012)

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