The board of the FEI recently held a meeting about the adaption of the rule book. Especially the blood rule and the top hat debate were the main focus.
An incident at the Olympic Games made people question the current blood rule and how it is applied. During one round, Cian O’Connor’s white horse began to bleed heavily from the nose – he was not being stopped, though. According to the current rules, this happened legally.
Current blood rule
In show jumping, blood only leads to exclusion if it is on the flanks in the area of the spurs. When a horse’s mouth bleeds, it needs to be checked whether the blood was caused by the influence of the person riding the horse via the bit. In dressage, on the other hand, blood on the mouth or bloody foam leads to exclusion right away.
This difference is usually the biggest reason for debates when it comes to the blood rule. However, the FEI will not decide whether double standards should continue to be applied until the General Assembly on November 14th.
No return of the top hat despite resistance
In this debate, the board was able to come to an agreement: There will be no return of the top hat. Even if there is still reluctance within the dressage scene, the protection of the riders should be the top priority. Therefore, helmets will continue to be mandatory in the dressage arena.
Changes for riders
Due to the fact that the result calculation in the driving sport is quite complicated, a new calculation method is going to be tested. Starting in 2022, penalty points will be converted into seconds at smaller international tournaments. However, this method will not be adopted into the rules until 2023 at the earliest, by which time sufficient test runs should have been carried out.
The new rules will be presented to the national associations and interest groups on October 18th. On November 14th the general assembly of the FEI will give their votes.