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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 01/12/2021.

Sensory Hair Ruling Transition Period Extended

Back in August 2021 the EA Board voted to implement the recent FEI rule to ban the trimming of horse sensory hairs across all EA National Disciplines in the interests of horse welfare. 

Given circumstances, such as the impact of COVID-19 on some States not being able to host events allowing sufficient time for all members to be educated on the ruling and the delay from the FEI on publishing guidelines for the implementation of the rule, the EA Board have recently voted to extend the transition period until 1 July 2022.  The penalty of disqualification will not be applied during this extended transition period and the rule will come into full effect as of 1 July 2022.

For clarification and understanding the full rule reads as per the FEI Veterinary Regulations Article 1004 1(i):

  1. Horses are not permitted to compete in FEI Events:

(i) “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. 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.”

(Sanction no. 39 as stated in Annex VI - (1004) Clipping, shaving and/or removing sensory hairs - Disqualification of the Horse from the Event.)

The FEI define Sensory Hairs as ‘hard hairs located on the Horse’s muzzle and around its eyes, also known as ‘whiskers’ that are used for sensation’.

Once the FEI has published guidelines, we will be working alongside our Discipline Sport Committees to help educate our Athletes, Coaches and Officials on the implementation of the FEI rule for our National Disciplines.

As of 1 July 2022, this ruling will apply to any EA event, any athlete and horse combination where it is found that the horse has had its sensory hairs clipped or shaved will be disqualified from the entire event.

The FEI Veterinary Regulations 14th edition, effective 1 January 2021 are available here.

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