“This is a milestone achievement for us as a company.”

Bedmax has become the first equine bedding company to become BETA NOPS accredited. 

The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) has been planning the scheme since January 2020, which aims to minimise the risk of contamination by naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) in equine bedding products. 

Carrying this badge certifies that all products from Bedmax’s range, which includes Bedmax, Littlemax, and Stockmax shavings and its recently launched Strawmax straw pellet bedding, conform to the current best practice in minimising the risk of contamination by NOPS. 

Contamination by naturally occurring prohibited substances has been an ongoing problem with performance horses for some time and the FEI takes a no tolerance stance to prohibited substances. 

The list of prohibited substances is long, and the rules can be difficult to navigate. The problem often lies in inadvertent cross-contamination from external sources which is not just a problem for professional riders, but amateur and hobby riders too, says BETA.

Prohibited substances in bedding can be absorbed into a horse’s or pony’s system if contaminated bedding becomes mixed up in hay, for example, and even tiny quantities can be detected and result in a positive doping test. 

Tim Smalley, managing director at Bedmax

Spot testing is much more common at all levels of professional and amateur competition in all disciplines, and riders need to be vigilant as fines can still be administered if they are unable to prove that all preventative measures have been taken.

BETA first launched its NOPS Code for Equine Feed in response to the increase in incidents in positive doping tests. Further research revealed that bedding is also a common source of cross-contamination, and so the BETA NOPS Code for Equine Bedding was set up to recognise manufacturers that conform to the current best practice in minimising the risk of contamination by NOPS.

Claire Williams, executive director of BETA said: “I am so pleased to see the years of work on this scheme coming to fruition.  It seemed logical to develop this programme to complement the NOPS Feed code, when bedding and feed are so closely associated. Working alongside our independent auditors, Kiwa, we have produced a scheme that adds another level of risk assessment to bedding production that I believe is unique.  

“Congratulations are due to Bedmax on auditing successfully to the standard.  I know how much work they have put in to ensuring that they meet the standards that we have set.”

Carrying the NOPS logo also assures customers that equine bedding products are marketed fairly and legally. It means that claims are evidenced and offers peace of mind that bedding products receive the same amount of scrutiny for the risk of prohibited substances as feed.

For Tim Smalley, managing director at Bedmax, NOPS accreditation is a landmark in the bedding company’s 21-year commitment to excellence.  

“This is a very positive step forward for both Bedmax and the equine industry, especially professional riders and trainers. Unlike feeds and supplements, you don’t get a list of ingredients on a bag of bedding so it’s important to know that the manufacturer has taken steps to ensure the product does not contain prohibited substances.

“I am delighted that we are the first bedding company to carry the BETA NOPS badge and I hope this will help all equestrian organisations in their drive to make competition at all levels as clean and fair as possible. We pride ourselves on providing customers with the highest quality of equine bedding, and this is a milestone achievement for us as a company.”

Stables photo by Kenny Webster