The FEI has outlawed trimming the whiskers of competition horses, with any breaches of the rule resulting in disqualification of the horse from the event.
The new rule was passed during the federation’s general assembly on 23 November 2020 as part of the veterinary regulations covering sport horses competing internationally under FEI rules in all disciplines.
From today (1 July), horses who have had their sensory hairs removed, unless for veterinary reasons, will be disqualified from FEI events.
The wording, which was voted through unanimously, states that horses are not permitted to compete in FEI events “if the horse’s sensory hairs have been clipped and/or shaven or in any other way removed unless individual sensory hairs have been removed by a veterinarian to prevent pain or discomfort for the horse.”
It adds: “Areas of hair that must be clipped, shaven or removed to allow veterinary treatment are exempt from this rule. As of 1 July 2021, sanction 39 in annex VI will be applicable.”
The sanction referred to is disqualification of the horse from the event.
The reasoning from the FEI veterinary committee for the change is that they believe a horse’s sensory hairs must not be trimmed or removed as it “reduces the horse’s sensory ability”.