A Guide to Avoiding Prohibited Substances

To try to ensure fair competition most affiliated organisations including showing, breed societies, riding clubs, FEI sports and racing, define certain substances as performance affecting and are therefore not allowed to be present in the horse. The level to which competing horses are tested varies, but any competitor could be subject to testing if the organisers so desired. It is important people competing in affiliated competitions are aware of the risks. 

What are NOPS?

NOPS are prohibited substances that are naturally occurring in plants that can contaminate feed materials used for horse feed. They are not intentionally fed to the horse but their presence will still cause a positive test result and the trainer/rider will forfeit the winnings. If it is proven that the feed was the source of the positive test, then the rider or trainer is unlikely to receive a ban or fine. Please note that in disciplines other than racing, the rider is responsible for the horse even if they only accept the ride on the day of the competition – an example of a rider being fined even though he picked up a chance ride was given at the BETA conference in 2015.

BETA NOPS Code of PracticeNOPS 2014 logo small

  • Aims to be the industry standard that allows a company to show due diligence – in other words the company is doing everything practically possible to reduce the risk of contamination with NOPS. 
  • Requires an annual independent audit 
  • Covers all prohibited substances not just morphine
  • Includes HACCPS, traceability, testing procedures and risk management

All Dengie feeds are approved under the BETA NOPS scheme. It is NOT a guarantee but a mark that we have done all we can to reduce the risk of contamination with NOPS.

Advice for retailers, riders and yard personnel

  • Query whether the trainer or rider knows exactly where all the feeds, supplements, herbs, potions they use are coming from and what they contain - ignorance is no excuse
  • Highlight any sources of contamination that you see – e.g, cans of Diet Coke, Red Bull, coffee mugs, chocolate, any bakery product that may contain poppy seeds etc. 
  • Highlight good practice – don’t share buckets, scoops and stirrers, especially if medication is being used for some horses
  • Recommend batch details of feed are recorded and ideally retain a small sample from each batch 
  • Highlight the fact many herbs contain active compounds that could trigger a positive test – it is up to the rider to ensure any herbs they use don’t contain NOPS
  • Make retailers aware that if they knowingly sell products to people competing under rules (of any discipline) they are responsible for ensuring that product is fit for purpose e.g. NOPS approved. The contract of sale is between the retailer and the rider NOT the manufacturer.
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