How do you really know what you are feeding?

Many of you reading this will compete in affiliated competitions and will no doubt have an interest in nutrition and what is best to feed and supplement your horses.


With feed & supplements playing a vital role in performance, it is essential that this regime is done correctly.


There’s plenty of marketing and claims surrounding feed & supplements but how do you know that what you are feeding is safe and more importantly legal?


When we talk about positive tests in horses people generally associate this just with deliberate doping but this is not the case and many high profile cases have involved feed or supplement “contamination”.


Many riders are not aware that it is they who are responsible for ensuring the horse they are competing is not falling foul of having any prohibited substances in their system and many believe these rules are just for international or high end classes.


Sophie Thomas, The Anti-Doping Programme Manager from The British Equestrian Federation explains; “The person who competes on the horse is always the Person Responsible (PR) because of the strict liability provision in the rules.  It doesn’t matter that they might not be the primary carer of that horse.  Other personnel can be sanctioned too (vets, grooms, owners) in a case but the rider will never be “let off”.”


“It is true to say that a novice event horse is as likely to be tested as an advanced horse under the national rules” Sophie adds.


Any Person Responsible who uses supplements, herbal remedies etc. for his/her horse does so at his or her own risk of committing an EADCMR (Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations) violation. Persons Responsible should always ensure that they exercise extreme caution and judgment in the products that they use. (1)


All competition horses need adequate feed and supplementation, so what can you do to minimise the risks? 

UFAS LOGO


It is vital for any rider competing under rules to look for companies registered and accredited under The Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (UFAS) and the BETA NOPS Scheme.


UFAS forms the bedrock of EU Food and Feed legislation.  The scheme is audited and certified by an independent certification body, in accordance with the internationally recognised standard EN45011 (also known as ISO Guide 65). This means that the certification body is itself independently assessed every year to ensure that the standard is implemented and administered consistently and fairly.


beta nops lOGO

A fully UFAS accredited supplement company gives quality assurance that we adhere to the high standards of ingredient quality and production methods used in the formulation of our products. If you are considering a company that is not accredited and that are giving “Guarantees” you should ask yourself one question: - If they’re not accredited, why not?! There is no valid reason why reputable companies would choose not to be accredited.


To you the consumer, UFAS accreditation means:

1.            Full traceability of ingredients - from the packaged product right back to buying in the raw materials.

2.            Guaranteed Good Manufacturing Practice in place.

3.            Ingredients are guaranteed dioxin, bacteria, fungi and pesticide free, within EU limits.

4.            No cross contamination of ingredients.

5.            No external contamination of ingredients.

6.            Guaranteed use of approved suppliers only.

7.            Guaranteed HACCP plan (globally recognized Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) - which ensures first class quality control and uniformity of production.


KEY CONTAMINATION RISK FACTORS

Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS) can occur in feed or supplements as a result of a natural presence or inadvertent cross-contamination during processing.  All substances classed as NOPS are included in a defined list and featured in the BETA NOPS quality assurance schemes. Companies audited under these schemes work to defined standards to help reduce the risk of feed contamination by NOPS.

 

The definition of a prohibited substance is “any substance that can exert an effect on a horse” which is a broad, all-encompassing definition. A naturally occurring prohibited substance (or NOPS) is one that is either naturally present within certain ingredients or that occurs as a result of inadvertent cross contamination during processing before arriving at the manufacturer’s facility. 


TOP TIPS AND ADVICE


  • Buy feed or supplements with the BETA NOPS and UFAS logos on the packaging. This shows that the manufacturer is part of the BETA NOPS Quality Assurance scheme designed to help reduce the risk of contamination with naturally occurring substances and is UFAS accredited.
  • Beware of claims made by feed manufacturers that are not part of the BETA NOPS code and/or UFAS accredited. Ask yourself if they are not certified to these schemes – why not?
  • Contact the manufacturer to check the suitability of a feed for your horse.
  • Keep only horse and pony feed in the feed store and do not share it with feed for other animals.
  • Only buy feed that is in correctly labelled sealed bags.
  • Avoid using the same stirrer to mix feeds – particularly when one horse is given medication in its feed.

 

  1. FEI Warning Regarding the Administration of Supplements to Horses

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