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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 13/08/2021.
Image by Kelly Forrister

Whiskers to Stay Put

The EA Board has 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. 

At the 2020 FEI General Assembly, a new rule that prohibits the clipping/shaving of sensory hairs was passed as part of the veterinary regulations, which came into effect on 1st July 2021. 

Vibrissae, or sensory hairs/whiskers, are the long stiff hairs growing on the chin, mouth and around the eyes and are used as organs of touch by the horse.

The FEI Veterinary Committee believes that the horse’s sensory hairs must not be trimmed or removed as it reduces the horse’s sensory ability.

The FEI rule, which 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," will now also apply to all EA National Disciplines.

There will be a transition period from now until 1st January 2022, when the rule will come into full effect. No elimination or penalty will be incurred during the transition period.

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