Canada’s Diane Creech and her mount Chrevis Christo were eliminated from the FEI 3* Grand Prix Special during week five of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, as a result of a “blood rule” infraction.

Following the Grand Prix, in which they placed fourth with a score of 68%, the duo competed in the Grand Prix Special, putting in a “wonderful performance,” according to Creech. “Unfortunately, at the tack check after, [officials] noted a very small old bell boot rub that had reopened during our ride and we got eliminated,” she said.

Creech later contacted the FEI to ask for clarification on the blood rule, saying, “I did not know the correct meaning myself, as I had never been affected by it before.” Following is the response she received from FEI’s legal department:

“I am following up on your email concerning your elimination from the FEI 3* Grand Prix Special in Wellington. Thank you for your patience while I looked into this further.

“The correct interpretation of the rule is that when blood is discovered on the leg of the horse during the check after the horse has competed, this does not result in elimination. This means that you were incorrectly eliminated from the competition. Unfortunately, according to the FEI rules and processes, there is nothing that we can do now to rectify this situation because once 30 minutes passes after the official results are published, they cannot be changed.”

Creech is sharing her experience to help other riders understand the interpretation blood rule, which, according to the FEI includes the following points:

“If a Steward discovers blood in the horse’s mouth or in the area of the spurs, the Judge at C should always be called (regardless of whether the horse is due to compete again or not) so that the Judge can officially eliminate the horse.

“We would recommend that the FEI Veterinarian is also always called where there is blood in the mouth/on the flanks just to assess the Horse’s condition. For example, the wound might need treatment. The FEI Vet only needs to give an opinion on the fitness (or not) of the Horse to compete if the Horse is scheduled to compete at the same event again.”

Creech is very understanding about the mistake and supportive of the FEI’s efforts. “I totally agree with all of the blood rules. They are doing what they are supposed to do which is keep the welfare of our horses first before the sport!”