Have you heard of NOPS? NOPS stands for Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances and was set up by BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) in 2009 to reduce the risk of equine feed being contaminated by prohibited substances. And it’s really important.
In addition to a whole list of banned substances, such as different types of equine drug, naturally occurring substances can also be prohibited. This really matters in competition, when horses get tested, like athletes, to ensure that there’s nothing in their system that shouldn’t be there, that could impact their performance or behaviour. Many of the substances on the banned list are administered to horses in need of veterinary assistance or in supplements, and that’s fine as long as the horse isn’t competing or the correct withdrawal period is adhered too. Substances on this list aren’t all ‘bad’, but they are prohibited in competition for different reasons. If you’re at all concerned about what your horse is being fed or has been prescribed, then always consult your vet.
Now, back to NOPS… there are a number of different NOPS, the main ones are
- Caffeine – (cacao)
- Theobromine – (cacao)
- Theophylline – (tea)
- Morphine – (opium poppy, Papaver somniferum)
- Hyoscine – (nightshade, Datura)
- Hordenine – (germinating barley)
- Atropine – (nightshade – Atropa belladonna
As mentioned, many of these contaminations occur by accident, but it’s important to be aware of all prohibited substances, including natural ones, and making sure that you’re doing all YOU can to prevent contamination if you have competition horses around.
For more information about the NOPS scheme that BETA runs, and a list of companies signed up to the scheme, see the NOPS information on BETA’s website.
The Golden Paste Company's TurmerAid Pellets conform to BETA NOPs and UFAS codes.