In July this year the FEI proposed a change to the extensively discussed and disputed Blood Rule.
The proposed rules stated the following: blood on the horses flank caused by the athlete’s leg may lead to elimination (instead of disqualification) and (NB) minor cases of blood on the flank(s), as described in the Jumping Stewards Manual, will not incur elimination
Secondly, the proposal slightly amended the article on mandatory disqualification, which in the proposal stated that cases of marks and/or blood on the horse’s flank as a result of an excessive use of the spur(s) will be penalized with disqualification. The difference between elimination and disqualification appears to be the “excessive use of spur”, however, what defines “excessive use of spur” was not further clarified.
Schelstraete Equine Lawyers (SEL) were interviewed by Horse International regarding this proposal where we specified several legal concerns which arose and could become an issue would the rules come into force.
These concerns related mainly to the lack of legal certainty and the subjectivity the rules would allow for. You can find the full interview here.
National Federations agree with SEL´s urgings
Schelstraete Equine Lawyers is pleased to see that several National Federations have submitted analogous comments to the FEI and rejected a subjective component in the jumping sport.
The Spanish National Federation stated: “This rule, by definition, will be a judgement call. This situation will lead to many different possible problems because there is no clear guideline. “ as a comment to the elimination rule.
The Dutch National Federation commented the following in regard to the disqualification rule: “Art. 241.3.30: What are the criteria for a “minor” case of blood on the flank(s)? Art. 242.3: What are the criteria for “excessive” use of spurs/whip?
The criteria for these should be clear, transparent and objective. “
Final Proposal to the Blood Rule
After receiving comments from different stakeholders the final proposal to the Blood Rule now looks as following:
Article 241.3.30 concerning elimination proposes: The Ground Jury must enforce Elimination under the following circumstances: (…) blood on the Horse’s flank(s).
The proposed disqualification article, article 242.3.1, states: Disqualification is mandatory in the following cases: (…) marks indicating excessive use of spurs or of the whip anywhere on the Horse; additional sanctions may also apply (see JRs Art. 243);
Does the Final Proposal Provide a Satisfactory Change to the Blood Rule?
The FEI General Assembly is taking place this weekend (18th – 21st of November) in Montevideo, Uruguay where this final proposal will be discussed. Schelstraete Equine Lawyers are positive to the National Federations due care in revising the earlier proposed rules and is confident this will continue throughout the General Assembly. The question which remains is however if this latest proposal to the blood rule provides much change to the current blood rule which has been significantly disputed throughout the year.
Schelstraete Equine Lawyers look forward to the outcome of the General Assembly and hope for clear and objective rules, which provide legal certainty. You can read more about this topic in our previous article for Horse international about ‘blood rules’.
Comments Received from Stakeholders on First Draft of Proposed Modifications to the JRs : inside.fei.org
Final Proposal of the FEI Jumping Rules 2018: inside.fei.org