Endurance, Event Horses at World Games Tested Positive for Controlled Medication, Dressage Clean

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CAEN, Normandy, Sept. 4, 2014–An Endurance horse ridden for South Africa and an Eventing horse on the French fourth-placed team at the World Equestrian Games tested positive for controlled medication substances, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) reported Friday.

The penalty for use of a controlled substance could be as severe as disqualification of an entire team which in the case of eventing would mean that France would lose the qualification won here for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Dressage, para-dressage and reining horses tested in the first week of two weeks of the WEG were all found to be negative.

The positive findings were the first at an Olympics or World Games since the 2008 Olympics when several jumper horses and an American dressage horse were disqualified for positive tests.

Controlled Medications are substances that are regularly used to treat horses but are not allowed in competition so as to maintain a level playing field.

The FEI reported that samples taken Aug. 28 from the horse Tra Flama ridden in Endurance by Giliese de Villiers of the Republic of South Africa returned positive for Phenylbutazone and its metabolite Oxyphenbutazone. Phenylbutazone or ‘bute is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used for the treatment of pain. Tra Flama was vetted out at the second Vet Gate on the Endurance course.

Samples taken on Aug.29 from the horse Qalao des Mers ridden in Eventing by Maxime Livio of France returned positive for fr-meds.net. Acepromazine is a sedative. Qalao des Mers finished fifth individually and was a member of the fourth-placed French team.

“We carried out an intensive awareness campaign prior to the Games and also offered pre-arrival testing to all participants,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos, “so it is very disappointing that we have two positives for Controlled Medication substances at the Games, especially when it is well known and well accepted that both these substances are not permitted in competition. Although these are Controlled Medication not doping substances, we take this very seriously.”

A total of 137 horses were tested in the first week of the Games–22 in Dressage (22 per cent of 100 starters), 49 in Endurance (28 per cent of 173 starters), 24 in Eventing (26 per cent of 91 starters), 21 in Reining (26 per cent of 82 starters) and 21 in Para-Equestrian Dressage (21 per cent of 100 starters).

In addition to random testing, the FEI conducts compulsory testing of all individual medal winners at the WEG, and at least one horse from each of the medal winning teams.

The Controlled Medication positives, the FEI said, will not result in an automatic provisional suspension but will go to the FEI Tribunal after the Games.

As at the Olympic Games, a positive result for a team member can result in FEI Tribunal disqualifying the whole team.

In the Qalao des Mers case, this could mean disqualification of the French Eventing team and loss of Olympic qualification for Rio 2016.

All horses were offered full screen pre-arrival testing from July 21 until two weeks’ prior to arrival at the Games. Additionally, elective testing for specific Controlled Medication substances was also offered close to the event.

All equine samples taken prior to and during the Games were tested at the FEI approved laboratory in Paris.