What is "Clean Sport" and what exactly are the risks to riders?
With the FEI having recently released a decision on two dressage horses who tested positive for a banned substance in February 2017 and the more recent disqualification and loss of Gold Medal for Britain's Harry Charles after a positive test for a controlled medication substance, what does "Clean Sport" really mean when it comes to feed and supplements?
The results of the dressage horses were due to contamination of a supplement and whilst neither rider was at fault the FEI stated that it was of the opinion that "using a supplement in the first place, the person responsible is already negligent."
In 2015 the FEI also issued a warning that "persons responsible" i.e. riders and trainers, are responsible for whatever their horse's ingest.
This applies to ALL that their horse's ingest be it feed, treats, supplements, polo mints or a carrot or apple!
So, what does clean sport actually mean and what are the risks of feeding a supplement?
We asked our Director, Vicky Mitson to explain.
"If you feed anything from a non-accredited, uncertified and unregulated manufacturer I would wholeheartedly agree with the FEI that a rider could be negligent. Just because a company or brand are selling a feed or supplement it does not mean they are accredited and have undergone strict external auditing or laboratory test their products"
What should we all look out for when buying our feed and supplements?
There are three main accreditations to look for. These are UFAS (Universal Feed Assurance Scheme) BETA NOPS (Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances) and FEMAS (Feed Materials Assurance Scheme).
To gain certification requires a whole host of strict practices, procedures and laboratory testing. There are annual external audits by assessors of each scheme as well as spot audits that can take place at any time.
"At Science Supplements®, we are a fully certified UFAS and NOPS manufacturer. We manufacture our products in our own accredited facility and have complete control over what comes in and out of our doors." Said Vicky.
"Every raw material (ingredient) has a full certificate of analysis and each finished product also undergoes a schedule of laboratory testing for prohibited substances. In addition, it is also about the quality of the materials used and only certified manufacturers can guarantee the quality."
Vicky concluded: "There's generally a reason why companies aren't accredited and that is because they can't be. If a rider chooses to use a feed or supplement from a non-accredited company (despite their promises) then I agree with the FEI – they are negligent."