Aachen Expands Fight Against Doping – More Stewards, More Tests

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Germany's Olympic teams for dressage, eventing and jumping in happier days at 2008 CHIO Aachen. Photo: © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Germany's Olympic teams for dressage, eventing and jumping in happier days at 2008 CHIO Aachen. Photo: © 2008 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

AACHEN, Germany, June 5–Organizers of the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen are implementing a pioneering and tough program against doping of horses with more stewards and more testing at the world’s premier horse show from June 26 to July 5.

The heightened testing–including the use of thermographic cameras that can detect any externally applied drugs–were announced in support of stern new measures announced by the German Equestrian Federation (FN) and the German Olympic Equestrian Committee as a result of the controversy swirling around the German 2008 Olympic jumping team.

“The FN has our full support in its battle against doping in the equestrian sport,” said Frank Kemperman, Chairman of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV) that organizes the CHIO. “The present decision to disband the (German) squad and to implement an independent Commission will enable a clear new start for clean and transparent sport,” added Michael Mronz, General Director of Aachener Reitturnier GmbH.

The world’s top riders and horses compete in dressage, eventing, jumping, driving and vaulting with several nations–Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Great Britain and the U.S.A.–fielding teams in what amounts to the cream of the sport that attracts more than a half million spectators and huge television audiences.

Kemperman said that on-site measures to fight against doping and forbidden medication will be expanded extensively during the event.

Frank Kemperman
Frank Kemperman

“We, the organizers, will undertake everything that can possibly be undertaken,” he said.

This year 42 stewards, experienced and with top qualifications, will be in action — an average of one steward for every 11 horses. The stewards carry out supervisory and control functions during the event. They are responsible for insuring compliance with the FEI “Code of Conduct” which defines general rules of conduct for protection of the horses. The stewards will primarily be stationed at the warm-up arenas and in the stable area. They have extensive powers of authority regarding horse inspections.

The entire stable area will be monitored 24 hours a day by stewards supported at night by the “Horse-Watch-Service.” The service is unique to Aachen and is designed to provide exceptionally good monitoring around the clock. Nineteen CHIO vets will also carry out control and supervisory functions parallel to their veterinary activities.

With immediate effect, doping samples will be taken from the top three placed horses as well as a from a horse picked at random for all competitions that are relevant for the world ranking lists, in addition to the normal doping samples. Statistically that means every third show-jumper can anticipate being tested. Taking all five CHIO disciplines into account, this means that every eighth horse in Aachen will be tested. All inspections will be carried out by the independent doping inspector of the Medication Control Program to guarantee maximum quality and also the non-appealability of the samples.

Thermographic cameras will also be in operation. These cameras can accurately determine the surface temperature of a horse’s skin down to 1/100th of a degree so the cameras can detect any possible externally applied influences.

The organizers said the internationalization of the anti-doping fight is essential.

“We made the proposal to the FEI to use the CHIO Aachen 2009 as a pilot project for all measures,” Kemperman said.