Whisker removal banned in international competition from next year

I personally love this, I stopped clipping faces a few years back.


I personally stopped clipping my horse’s whiskers and the interior of the ears ages ago. The animals need them too much.

I’m happy to see FEI move to keep the whiskers.


Yes, great news. Also great that they are mandating helmet use even in top-level dressage.


How many weeks/months growth is going to be required for an animal not to be disqualified??? If a horse were “cleaned” up prior to sale/delivery the new owner may have a very expensive pasture pet …

I’m okay with trimmed whiskers (e.g., not shaved down to the muzzle, but a respectable length that’s “cleaned up” but still functional), not sure how I feel about shaggy looking ones!

Glad to see ear clipping is banned, though… not like it matters all that much anymore, since it seems no one at the ULs goes without a dumb ear bonnet nowadays! :roll_eyes:


The German federation wanted ears to be included in the rule. The FEI vets responded that ear hairs “are not considered to be sensory hairs" so ears are not included in the rule.


Not that I will ever compete at anything close to this level but I want to add to this good question. What about horses who wear them off from eating out of a hay bag?


Facial hair will become a status symbol


And eye sensory whiskers - I trim them down (not off, but to about 1") after I had a horse get eye irritation from a fly mask shoving them back into her eyeballs.

I now have a horse who gets really pissy about the muzzle whiskers getting caught in a flash band or bottom of a figure 8.

This rule seriously needs some clarification. Additionally, doesn’t the FEI have bigger fish to fry than the “abuse” of shaving whiskers on totally domesticated animals?


There are medical exemptions so I;m sure this would explained at the time of the event and pre approved.

Their vets who reviewed this rule seemed to think this wasn’t an actual thing that happened. Just be extra careful putting them on and pull all the hairs out from under. I do this already because I don’t trim anything other than a bridle path and all my girls have long whiskers.


I started leaving whiskers on a few years ago because I had a feeling the rules were moving in this direction, although I’m not at all convinced that most horses care one bit if they’re trimmed.

I do hope they don’t ban clipping ears, though … at least the outside of the ears. I always leave the hair on the inside, but I clip around the outside edge and trim back any big tufts that stick out and I feel like most horses look so much better with neat ears!


Shes got a double whisker that sits right under the band. There’s no pulling them out, only folding them which pisses her off.

I am guessing you can clip those and no one will notice.


But someone who does this could be DQed from an FEI competition. Again, these horses are totally domesticated. I have never met a horse (who was otherwise healthy, I can’t speak for blind horses) who was bothered by the removal of whiskers.


I agree with you. Totally!


I knew a horse who very much hated having his whiskers clipped. Any time his was clipped for competition he got very head shy. When he had his whiskers he wasn’t head shy at all.


The last time I ever clipped a muzzle was over a decade ago when I clipped my healthy, not-blind pony’s muzzle and came in the next morning to minor scrapes all over his nose from bonking into stuff in his stall overnight. Life threatening issue? No, but I’m sure he wouldn’t have considered it pleasant. It does affect even healthy ones to take away their ability to feel things before their nose makes contact with the object.


The FEI vets strongly disagree. I guess you have to decide if showing FEI is more important or if clipping your whiskers is more important.

Horses can not tell us whether they care if they are clipped, it is just our assumption they don’t mind which could very well be incorrect.

The FEI vets feel there is enough research to justify this law. It has been the law in Germany for some time and I haven’t seen it affecting their success in any discipline.


Having a hunter (show) background I have been around barns full of horses with their muzzles clipped and not had this experience. Heck, even my horse that looked for ways to hurt himself did not have a problem with his muzzle shaved.

My whole herd wears down their muzzle whiskers all winter as they eat from round bales in a small hole hay net. There is no increase in injuries during this time.

This is not me saying the whiskers have no purpose and that some horses don’t have a world that collapses when they are shaved (heck, I own a horse who can not be vaccinated, I know all about weird horses).
I am also not saying I have a problem with the rule.