The FEI has announced plans to permit the use of Regumate, which is used to suppress mareish behaviour, among horses taking part in international competitions.
The decision, taken at an FEI meeting last week, is a significant step forward, and may lead to an increase in the number of mares competing internationally.
“It will go to the general assembly for final approval in May, after which time Regumate will be allowed under three criteria,” says Andrew Higgins, a member of the FEI veterinary committee.
“First, the drug will only be allowed for use in mares. Second, only the dose recommended by the manufacturer can be used, and lastly, a medication form must signed by the administering vet and given to the FEI for approval.”
The decision follows several years of debate. John McEwen, who heads the International Treating Vets Association, has repeatedly asked the FEI to approve the use of the drug.
“We have done a lot of research into its physiological effects,” continues Higgins. “We’re satisfied that it doesn’t make a mare any more or less dominant — which could affect her competitive edge.”
This ruling will only apply to international competition, although the decision may have a knock-on effect in future, because in general, national bodies such as the BSJA, British Eventing, British Dressage and Endurance GB follow the FEI’s rules on prohibited substances.