Horizon Ridden by Adrienne Lyle in Successful Wellington Grand Prix Debut

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Horizon with Adrienne Lyle aboard competing in the horse’s first Grand Prix, a national class at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 9, 2018–Adrienne Lyle debuted Horizon at Grand Prix Friday, capturing the Adequan Global Dressage Festival national class exactly a year after the horse was found to have a banned substance in a case that drags on into this World Equestrian Games year in the United States.

Adrienne of Ketchum, Idaho and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare were awarded 72.283 per cent by the single judge to easily win the class.

Horizon (Hotline x Don Schufro), bought by Elizabeth “Betsy” Juliano in December, 2010 for what was the equivalent of $727,000. She is also the owner of Salvino that is competing in the CDI5* as well as Handsome, ridden by Jennifer Baumert to win all three starts at CDI small tour this year.

At this same event at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Stadium complex in 2017, Adrienne and Horizon won both the CDI Intermediate 1 and Intermediate Freestyle in their comeback season at international competition following the retirement of Wizard after the 2014 World Games and that she had ridden for the United States at the 2012 Olympics.

As assistant to Debbie McDonald, Adrienne had a squeaky-clean reputation and as hard working as any equestrian pursuing their passion carrying not only her own dreams but those of the owners.

Two months later, Betsy, as the owner and with farms in Ohio and Wellington, was notified of the finding of the banned substance ractopamine in Horizon. An identical finding was made for the 18-year-old Don Principe that was being ridden by Kaitlin Blythe in the Under-25 division.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) imposed a suspension of both horse and rider for 60 days under a policy of provisionally suspending horses regardless of the source or cause of the positive sample, that it cites is for horse welfare and provides a fair and level playing field.

A search of all feeds and supplements fed to the horses–stabled in separate barns–and a costly analysis by Cargill located the source, trace amounts of ractopamine in a gastric supplement called Progressive Nutrition Soothing Pink. The banned substance was not disclosed on the product label.

Cargill immediately withdrew the product from the market, saying it “identified and isolated the ingredient that was the source of the contamination and we have completely stopped use of the ingredient in all products.”

The FEI had an option other than automatic provisional suspension–a concept of “Specified Substances” that it describes as “simply substances which are more likely to have been ingested by horses for a purpose other than the enhancement of sport performance, for example, through a contaminated food substance. In the case of a positive for a specified substance, provisional suspension is not automatic.”

It lifted the suspension on the riders but not the horses.

With the U.S. Festival of Champions–the national championships–scheduled for May and no indication the FEI would re-consider, the owners of Horizon and Don Principe went to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland and won a temporary stay of the suspensions of the horses.

Horizon won the U.S. Intermediate I championship and Don Principe the Under-25 title.

Adrienne Lyle and Horizon celebrating victory in the United States Festival of Champions Int. I championship. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The FEI has sought to overturn the CAS preliminary decision lifting the suspensions.

At same time, the FEI has not indicated its position on the final measures and the matter has not been submitted to the FEI Tribunal for consideration of any final measures.

Many thousands more dollars may have to be spent by the owners of Horizon and Don Principe on hearings in Lausanne, home of the FEI and of CAS before the cases are decided.