FEIF Statement May 2014

May 31 2014 | General

FEIF is strongly committed to horse welfare and appreciates the development in the member countries to focus on this important topic. Part of FEIF’s strategy is an active campaign to minimize all injuries to horses in breeding evaluations and sport competitions.
One of the areas of concern are mouth injuries. Since 2007 mouth inspections have been an important part of the equipment checks performed at the World Championships, breeding evaluations and WorldRanking competitions. Since beginning of the 2014 competition season mouth controls are demanded for 100% of horses in finals and 25% of horse in preliminary rounds. In addition, with effect of April 1, 2014, FEIF updated the Sport Judging Guidelines which now put a much greater focus on the harmony between the horse and rider in the performance of all tests.
FEIF has observed a significant decrease in the number of mouth injuries since the mouth inspections began. Although there are some concerns about a particular set of bits, FEIF has not received indications so far this year that there are problems, and wants to use the ongoing season to focus further on the way these bits are used and the potentially damaging effects caused. This initiative includes the input of the newly formed equipment advisory group as well as scientific analyses to allow for decisions, which are supported by a broad basis of findings.
A proposal to put curb bits with a port and a leverage on a list of prohibited equipment in sport competitions has not been supported by the FEIF sport committee. By forming a working group of specialists on equipment, and the ongoing work on the evaluation of injuries by the FEIF vet working group, the Board will continue to prepare a revised policy on equipment at the department meetings in October. An extensive data collection will take place during this season, and the working group will formulate their proposals based on all the findings, data and published scientific material.
FEIF renews its demand on judges at all levels to be vigilant in their mouth inspections and to act by disqualifying any horse with a significant mouth injury, regardless of the equipment used.
FEIF reminds all riders of the imperative to be properly educated in the use of their chosen equipment and to ensure the horse is properly trained with the equipment before it is presented in a breeding evaluation or sport competition.