EQUISTRO® anti-doping regulations

Which horses are concerned by prohibited substances and anti-doping rules?

Morally and ethically, any horse competing regardless of the equine sport and regardless of the level whether it be a "local riding club" event or a prestigious, high profile "international event" should be concerned.

Testing for the presence of prohibited substances is reserved predominantly for racehorses (governed by local Jockey Club regulations), FEI competitions and other affiliated competitions according to the country.

Vetoquinol advises that the horse rider at the time of registration for a race or competition ensures that he/she is aware of any rules and regulations that might concern the forthcoming event.

What samples are routinely taken?

As with athletes, urine samples are the most commonly obtained samples that are submitted to authorised laboratories for analysis, but in the absence of a "willing" urine sample, the veterinarian may be obliged to take a blood sample. In certain cases, both are taken!

What are prohibited substances?

Most medicines and drugs are prohibited if detected in a horse at the time of competition. This ruling is based on the philosophy that a horse should compete on its own merits without any unfair advantage. It is also to prevent horses damaging their athletic potential by drugs masking unfitness, lameness or disease.

The FEI publishes an 'Equine Prohibited Substances List' (EPSL). This enables Persons Responsible to ensure that they are not treating or feeding horses with substances that are prohibited for use during competition and substances that are not permitted for use in the horse at any time. Prohibited Substances are categorised as follows:

  • Banned Substances are substances that are deemed by the FEI to have no legitimate use in the competition horse and/or have a high potential for abuse. They are not permitted for use in the competition horse at any time. 
  • Controlled Medication are substances that are deemed by the FEI to have therapeutic value and/or be commonly used in equine medicine. Controlled Medication have the potential to affect performance and/or be a welfare risk to the horse. 

Zylkene Equine contains Alpha-Casozepine, a substance listed as a sedative and classified as "Controlled Medication" by the FEI. 

Learn more about Clean Sport for Horses on the FIE website

Inadvertent positive tests

EQUISTRO®’s "best practices" recommendations relating to avoiding an inadvertent positive test for a banned substance in competition horses.

Some basic procedures that should be followed in order to help avoid every competing rider’s nightmare, the positive drug test. The following questions need to be thought through for any nutritional supplement or medicine.

  • Can it be used safely in a horse which may be competed under rules?
  • Is it necessary and is it compatible with other treatments the horse may be having?
  • Has it been totally eliminated from the horse's body by the time of the competition?

A wide range of banned substances, including anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone (bute) and tranquilisers such as ACP (acepromazine), are commonly used with horses but are unacceptable under affiliated or international competition rules (consult the FEI website www.horsesport.org for a detailed list of prohibited substances).

How to avoid a feed or topical liniment related inadvertent positive test

  • Use only quality feedstuffs originating from reputable manufacturer’s whose labels are in conformity with European directives and hence indicate precisely the additive and ingredient composition.
  • The practice of retaining samples of foodstuffs used for a particular horse and the batch codes that appear on the feed packaging are current. EQUISTRO®, as part of the EQUISTRO®Clean Sport Programme, monitors the plant containing products.
  • Great care must be taken when using supplements. Carefully read the label. If you do not know exactly what you are giving, it may contain prohibited additives or preservatives.
  • Avoid contamination from another horse's buckets and feed utensils.
  • The risk of accidental human contamination should not be underestimated. Horses have tested positive for illegal substances following the offering of chocolate treats by the owner or others in contact with the horse.
  • Occasional positive dope test for opioids (morphine-type medication) from poppies, particularly poppy seeds on bread rolls fed to horses.
  • Be careful with equine liniments which may contain for example capsaicin, methyl salicylate, or NSAID topical gels.

EQUISTRO®’s commitment to the analysis of all batches of EQUISTRO® products containing plants, their extracts or tinctures for peace of mind.

Plants pose a particular risk as a source of naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) that can render a positive test to phytonutrients such as caffeine, theobromine, theophylline etc…

EQUISTRO® Clean Sport

Without quality there is no security, without security there is no quality!!

The EQUISTRO® Clean Sport programme is a natural extension of the Vetoquinol Best Practice guarantee that takes product security to a natural conclusion in response to your concerns about supplements and competition riding…

We listen to the concerns of competitive riders

Vetoquinol performed a “horse rider survey regarding attitudes and behaviour to supplements” which collected market research from 600 horse riders from the UK, Germany and France in 2009. When asked: "If you are buying nutritional supplements for horses, what reasons would influence your final choice of a particular product? Please rate the importance of each reason in your decision." 50% of respondents cited the importance of clear label indications on the product’s security status.

EQUISTRO® Clean Sport program

The philosophy behind this EQUISTRO® exclusive program is that of complete label declaration transparency in order to allow the competing sportsperson to make an informed choice regarding whether an orally administered EQUISTRO® product can be given safely while respecting the locally applicable regulations to the competition under consideration.

Note: Different countries apply different rules according to composition (notably plants). Consult your veterinarian for more information.

Every batch of an EQUISTRO® product containing herbs or their extracts are analysed for environmental contaminants by the internationally renowned laboratory for anti- doping control, the LCH (Laboratoire de Cours Hippique). Only when this final report has been received is the product dossier reviewed by Vetoquinol's quality control pharmacist for release. All non-conforming products are refused and destroyed.

Why Equistro?

Equistro is a high quality range of specific nutritional supplements and care products designed to optimise the performance of your 'equine athlete'.


ingredients with a high biological value


to meet the nutritional requirements of horses


products that you can rely on