USA Riders, Owners of Don Principe & Horizon Settle With FEI 2017 Banned Substance Case

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

Dec. 21, 2018

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

A settlement  has been reached in the case of American Under-25 rider Kaitlin Blythe and Don Principe and Olympic and World Games competitor Adrienne Lyle and Horizon and the International Equestrian Federation over the finding of a banned substance in their horses almost two years ago.

The settlement published by the FEI Tribunal Friday retroactively imposes a three-month suspension from April 5 to July 4, 2017.

But both combinations with the backing of the U.S. Equestrian Federation successfully rebuffed efforts by the FEI to strip the two combinations of 2017 Festival of Champions titles–Brentina Cup Under-25 for Kaitlin and Intermediate 1 for Adrienne that occurred within the suspension period.

Adrienne will lose scores that she earned in Europe between April 5 and July 4, 2017 but will have no impact on any current world rankings as scores for standings are only for the past 12 months.

Drug testing at a Global Dressage Festival CDI competition in Wellington, Florida Feb. 8-12, 2017 found the banned substance ractopamine in both horses. Traces were found in a supplement fed the horses–but ractopamine was not listed on the ingredients and the manufacturer admitted to a production accident.

“This has definitely been hanging over all of us,” said Adrienne, a 2012 Olympic and 2014 World Equestrian Games rider on Wizard and The Dutta Corp. silver medal team rider on Salvino at September’s WEG in Tryon.

“We’re glad to have it behind us. A lot of time and effort has occurred that has had a big impact on our lives. We’ve done everything possible to feed the right things to our horses, to do everything clean. Anything different is something we would never do.

“Hopefully, we can move on into the future and put this behind us.”

Elizabeth “Betsy” Juliano, the owner of both Horizon and Salvino and a successful self-made businesswoman of the Cleveland area of Ohio and Wellington, and Maryanna Haymon, the owner of Don Principe and a Warmblood horse breeder of Columbus, North Carolina fought the case from the start.

After being notified of the drug finding, they went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which lifted the automatic suspension so the two horses could compete at the annual national championships, which they did successfully in the Under-25 division for Kaitlin and Don Principe and Intermediate 1 for Adrienne and Horizon.

Don Principe, a Hanoverian stallion now 19 years old is no longer competed by Kaitlin of Rougemont, North Carolina.

Kaitlin Blythe and Don Principe after winning USA Brentina Cup Under-25 Championship. © 2017 SusanJSrickle.com

Adrienne, 33 and based in Wellington, moved Horizon up to Big Tour in March this year and has competed the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare in both the U.S. and Europe.

Betsy said of the final outcome of the case, “Even before this happened Adrienne and any rider I work with always clear everything with our veterinarian, who is Dr. Rick Mitchell, an FEI vet.  We cleared everything with him, and it’s frustrating that we had done so with this specific product.”

She said that a complete record of all feed products, including empty containers are now maintained and samples taken to shows where the horses might undergo testing, a procedure that Betsy is recommending to all riders.

Cargill, the manufacturer of the supplement that it has now withdrawn from the market, supported the owners and riders.

Costs in the case that involved hearings in Lausanne, Switzerland are believed to exceed $500,000 and, though not confirmed, are expected to be covered by Cargill.