The Fédération Equestre Internationale General Assembly, held in Istanbul, approved a new “blood rule” for dressage on Nov. 8. The Art. 430.7.6., developed in close cooperation with the Veterinary Committee, is as follows:

“Bleeding: If the Judge at C suspects fresh blood anywhere on the horse during the test, he will stop the horse to check for blood. If the horse shows fresh blood, it will be eliminated. The elimination is final. If the Judge through examination clarifies that the horse has no fresh blood, the horse may resume and finish its test.

“If the horse is eliminated pursuant to the above, or if the horse is injured during the test and starts bleeding after finishing the test, it should be examined by an FEI Veterinarian prior to the next Competition to determine if it is fit to continue in the Event the following day(s). The decision of the FEI Veterinarian is not subject to appeal.”

The rule will take effect Jan. 1, 2013, and comes as a result of several years of debate about the best way to handle blood on a horse during a test. A rule was proposed and then withdrawn at least year’s General Assembly in Brazil. There was previously no FEI dressage rule explicitly addressing blood, and decisions fell under a more general “welfare of the horse” category, and any blood spotted led to immediate elimination.

Other FEI dressage rule modifications of note include:

  • A freestyle test for the U25 category (known as the Brentina Cup in the United States) will be introduced starting Jan. 1, 2013.
  • The Olympic Grand Prix Special test will no longer be in use as of Jan. 1, 2013.
  • Pan American Games: The Dressage Committee, in cooperation with Regional Groups IV, V and VI, is working on ways to raise the competition level from Intermediaire to Grand Prix. A test event will be organized in April 2013 in the United States with mixed teams consisting of Intermediaire level athletes and a maximum of two Grand Prix level athletes, and a proposal based on the experiences of the event will be made to the General Assembly in 2013.