As an owner/ rider/ producer of horses or ponies competing under any society you are responsible for ensuring that horses which are in your care are free from any banned substances at the time of competition, for medical treatments your vet will provide withdrawal periods on drugs that are used under their care.

It is not only veterinary medication that is included on the vast banned substance list, but there are also risks in everyday products that you may be feeding or topical products that can include ingredients from the banned substance list. With ‘natural’ feeds and supplements becoming more widely available you must not necessarily trust that the product is safe ‘competition safe’ is not the same as ‘safe under FEI and BHA rules’ where for the latter the company is stating that adequate testing and controls ae in place to verify the safe sourcing and manufacture of the product.

It is your responsibility to make sure the feeds and supplements that you are feeding along with sprays and creams that you use contain no banned substances, products containing herbs can also be contaminated with other ingredients reputable companies will carry our extensive testing in line with NOPS guidance to ensure the products sold are safe, they will also have processes in place for regular testing and collecting of samples.

Ignorance is not an excuse if your animal is called for testing and fails for any substance, drug or natural whether that has been administered on purpose or through accidental exposure you will still face a ban and hefty fine not to mention the damage to reputation.

Below is a list of natural ingredients often referred in herbal or botanical blends that are on the prohibited list and need to be avoided when competing. Not only can these ingredients be found in some supplements they can also be found accidentally within other herbal blends as sources of herbs may not be controlled and cross contamination in big factories is possible.

When buying supplements it is important that you thoroughly check the ingredient lists and if in doubt ask the manufacturer about their policy on testing and NOPS procedures, as a positive drug test can result in long competition bans as well as the irreparable damage to reputation

There are two categories of herbal supplements. Those which are high priority are completely banned from any horse supplement/feed. These include:

Name Source
Caffeine Cacao
Theobromine Cacao (found in chocolate)
Theophylline Tea
Morphine Opium poppy & Papaver somniferum Nightshade & Datura
Hyoscine Nightshade & Datura
Hordenine Germinating barley
Atropine Nightshade – Atropa belladonna

Then there are low priority ones which can be found in supplements however they are banned from use in competition by the FEI and BHA (British Horseracing Authority). If found in the horse’s system, elimination will occur, and the consequences are tough.

Name Source
CBD Hemp
Cathinone/Cathine Khat
Digitoxin Foxglove (Digitalis sp.)
Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine Ephedra sp.
Reserpine Indian snake root & Devil’s Pepper (Rauvolfia sp.)
Synephrine “Bitter” orange cultivars (Citrus sp.)
Harpagosides Devil’s Claw
Salicylic acid Willow bark & Meadow Sweet
Valerenic acid Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis)
Yohimbine Yohimbe tree (Rauvolfia sp.)

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