“Tip-offs” to the FEI’s Equine Community Integrity Unit (ECIU) have decreased 20% this year compared with 2019 and are the lowest in five years, says ECIU chairman Lord Stevens in his annual report.

For the October 2019 to September 2020 the ECIU received 17 unique reports to its confidential hotline [one of which is understood to be allegations of electrified spur use by US jumper Andy Kocher. Misconduct allegations were the highest-reported category for the second year, which Lord Stevens thinks results from more awareness over the issues and confidence in reporting them. Horse welfare allegations dropped to below the 10-year average and there were no safeguarding allegations in the past 12-month cycle – the peak for the latter was five, in 2018.

“Whilst both could be considered positive, I would continue to urge any member of the equestrian community that has concerns about behaviours and practices of individuals to contact the ECIU where your identity will remain anonymous if you so choose,” he added.

“Without the community support, we can only go so far as to ensure those responsible for the negative impact on our sport are held accountable.

“We regularly discuss with stakeholders the importance of reporting issues and wrongdoing and standing up for the ethics of this great sport. We can only act when people come forward and help our investigations, provide eye witness accounts and supply us with evidence to assist the FEI in their pursuit of clean sport.”

In January, before worldwide lockdown due to the pandemic, the ECIU visited the Tokyo Olympic venue to test its latest surveillance equipment for compatibility. While the cancellation of many events reduced ECIU activity out in the field, it has enabled development in other areas, including investment in the market-leading “CLUE” case management software.

The ECIU is an independent entity whose scope includes the Clean Sport program and betting or corruption related to the FEI and its events. Anyone in the industry witnessing illegal drug use, horse abuse, cheating or other infractions, whether they are riders, organizers, officials or fans, are encouraged to report it. The ECIU hotline can be telephoned at +44 207 935 5822 or reached by email at report@equestrianintegrity.com