Owners of out of control dogs at equestrian events could be hit in the pocket with hefty fines from next year.
The FEI is proposing a CHF 100 (£76) fine for owners of loose dogs at all its affiliated events worldwide from 1 January 2019.
The move follows a number of high-profile incidents of dogs chasing horses at competitions in recent years.
“There is currently no provision in the FEI rules about dogs at FEI events and some disciplines have references to it in the schedule,” states the explanation in the FEI 2019 general regulations proposal.
“It is proposed to clarify that dogs must be leashed at FEI events as otherwise it can be dangerous for the horses/riders if there are loose dogs running.”
The suggested wording for the new rule is as follows: “If allowed at the event, all dogs must be leashed and affixed to a human or stationary object.
“Violation of this rule will incur a fine of CHF 100 per offence and, in case of a repeated offence at the event, may lead to exclusion from the venue.”
The rule, which is still in the early stages of development, would cover all international events in any of the FEI’s eight disciplines.
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The dog was at the rider’s heels as he took on the CCI3* showjumping
A loose dog was caught on video on a point-to-point course as the field approached
The rider praised his young horse, who stayed focused to jump a clear on holding ground
National federations and stakeholders are being consulted on all the proposed rule changes and second drafts will be released in the autumn. A final draft of the rule changes will be voted on at the FEI general assembly in November, and, if approved, would come into force on 1 January 2019.
Some horse trials already have fines in place for owners of dogs found to be off the lead. Osberton International Horse Trials in Nottinghamshire (27-30 September) and Frickley Park in Yorkshire (21-29 July and 8-9 September) both warn owners that they will be fined, with proceeds going to charity, if their dogs are found off the lead.
Luhmühlen in Germany has introduced a €250 (£220) fine after a rider was chased on the cross-country.
One of the most recent high-profile cases involved Andrew Nicholson and Yacabo BK in the CCI3* showjumping at Bramham on 10 June (pictured, top).
This followed a similar incident involving Andrew Hoy and Vassily De Lassos in an advanced intermediate section at Gatcombe on 24 March.
Both riders suggested this is a scenario where the bell could be rung and the dog caught before allowing the rider to continue.
In this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out on Thursday 12 July 2018, don’t miss our ‘Rider fitness’ special including what top riders eat, fitness for across the disciplines and more.
Plus, read our interview with Royal Ascot-winning trainer Eve Johnson Houghton and in this week’s ‘Vet clinic’ we take a look at bacterial meningitis in horses. We also have reports from eventing action at Barbury, racing from Sandown Park and much more.