A masterclass in clean sport from NAF [Promotion]

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More than ever, people are realising the implications and importance of understanding what they are feeding, as the subject of clean sport has recently come to the forefront of all equestrian disciplines.

As official supplier to the British equestrian teams and renowned for being the leading supplement manufacturer in the UK, NAF speaks to British Riding Clubs (BRC) to understand the impact clean sport has on their members. Many people wrongly assume local and national competitions do not come under international FEI ruling.

BRC has over 33,000 members and at least 1,500 compete at the national championships at Lincoln. Clean sport is at the heart of BRC’s ethos, as competition manager Rachael Holley explains: “British Riding Clubs believes that all horses should be competing on their own merit and as such, our rules on doping are the same as the FEI. BRC is also signed up to BEFAR (British Equestrian Federation Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Rules).”

Clean sport: best practice for everyone
Clean sport does not just apply to medal winners and members of Team GBR — it is best practice for all horse owners. We tend to hear the effect on high-profile riders following a breach of the rules in the press, but it is important to understand that testing happens at all levels.

“Testing does take place at BRC championships. We have results that have come back positive and bans from BRC events have been imposed,” says head of BRC, Laura Sanger.


What is a prohibited substance?
This is a phrase used frequently within our industry and is a broad, all-encompassing definition for any substance that can have a physiological effect on a horse.

A naturally occurring prohibited substance (NOPS) is one that is either naturally present within a particular ingredient, or one that occurs as a result of inadvertent cross-contamination during processing prior to the ingredients arriving at the manufacturing facility.

Dr. Sara Matthews, NAF’s quality and technical manager, is responsible for quality assurance and doping control measures.

“NAF test every batch of every product that goes through the manufacturing plant and exceeds the expectations of industry accreditations for manufacturing, best practice and quality control,” she says.

Where does responsibility lie?
It is ultimately the rider’s responsibility to ensure that the horse or pony they are riding has not been given any substance thatt will result in a breach of the rules.

“In the case of a junior member, the parent or guardian will also be held responsible,” says Rachael. “It is therefore important to know if any of the supplements or medication that your horse is being given are included on the equine prohibited substances list. This list is updated regularly and can be found on the FEI website, and as an app.”


How do you know who you can trust?
There is an understandable assumption that, because a product is sold in a tack shop or feed merchant and can be purchased over the counter without a veterinary prescription, it is safe to compete on. This is incorrect, and it is imperative to look for trusted brands if you are intending to compete at any level. There are some accreditations that can help you decide which companies can be trusted.

Firstly, always choose a registered feed business operator, (FBO) — the registration number must be quoted on the label. This ensures that the company will have the required levels of hygiene and traceability, and have a HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) plan, which assesses the production process for feed safety issues.

Feed, supplements and applications are under much scrutiny and monitored very closely by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), Food Standards Agency (FSA), Trading Standards and in some instances the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), but it is not illegal to place ingredients not suitable for competition use in products. Always look at the label, which must consist of the required analytical constituents, and listings of feed materials and certain additives. Each product must have a batch number and best before date clearly shown on the label, and containers should be sealed in a tamper evident way.

Also note that all claims made about a product on marketing and advertising material must be substantiated. NAF has its own dossier of scientific evidence to support any claims made about a product’s benefits, and it is the responsibility of the FBO that the marketing claims made about any supplement are legal and substantiated.

NAF is also a Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS) accredited company, and as such adhNOPS-Logoere to stringently high quality control standards in how products are manufactured. It also guarantees full traceability — of all natural ingredients used, right to source — and NAF is proud to have been one of the first companies in the UK to meet the strict manufacturing requirements of the UFAS British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) NOPS* code to ensure the control of NOPS, another logo worth looking out for.

To learn more about BETA NOPS please contact NAF for your free guide.

What should you do?
Horse owners have a duty to ensure clean sport is upheld. When feed has been purchased from a tack shop or feed merchant, it should be stored in a safe, secure container, free from rodent infestation which could lead to potential contamination.

When mixing multiple feeds, be aware of cross contamination when stirring.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked potential risks of contamination is the cup of coffee drunk or the bar of chocolate eaten in the feed room, as both caffeine and cocoa (theobromine) are prohibited substances. It is awareness of the potential dangers of these everyday practices that can help to ensure clean sport is maintained, and positive tests are kept at bay.


Top riders put their trust in NAF


If you are ever in doubt about what you are feeding, supplementing or applying to your horse, contact NAF. Either call the free nutritional helpline on 0800 373106, or email info@naf-uk.com to receive a quick service to reassure and offer advice.

How can you join British Riding Clubs?BRC-logo

With more than 33,000 members of all ages, riding clubs span the length and breadth of Great Britain. The aim of BRC is to offer something to all types of horse and rider, from the dedicated competitor to the recreational rider. Through the network of clubs BRC offers support and encouragement to grassroots members including training, competitions, assessments and social activities.

For more information or to find your nearest club, visit www.britishridingclubs.org.uk, call contact 02476 840518 or email ridingclubs@bhs.org.uk


Help or advice
If you are ever in doubt about what you are feeding, supplementing or applying to your horse, contact NAF. Either call the free nutritional helpline on 0800 373106, or email info@naf-uk.com to receive a quick service to reassure and offer advice.