This may be yesterday’s news (actually, it’s eleven days ago’s news), but it’s still great news that the FEI has decided to speak for the horse.

The 24th edition of the FEI Rules for Dressage Events will now make it clear that any horse with “fresh blood” on its body will be eliminated from competition and that elimination will be final, with no appeal.

I join in the chorus saying “thank you” to the decision makers who adopted the new rule at the FEI General Assembly.  I like to think that all who made their voices heard on the issue made a difference.  My voice joined in here and here.

Unfortunately, the blood rules for other FEI competitions put the welfare of the horse behind the potential success of the competitor.

For jumping, here is the FEI rule mentioning blood:

“…in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the rider to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in disqualification…”

For eventing, the FEI has this to say:

“Horses bleeding in the mouth, nose or limbs:  Such may be abuse of horse and will be reviewed case by case.  In minor cases of blood in the mouth, where a horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, or minor bleeding on limbs, after investigation by the Ground Jury may authorize the athlete to continue.”

It’s time for the FEI to take a fresh look at “fresh blood” in all competitions, not just dressage.