Suspensions Lifted of USA Olympic Rider Adrienne Lyle & Under-25 Rider Kaitlin Blythe
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Suspensions of United States Olympic team rider Adrienne Lyle and Under-25 rider Kaitlin Blythe have been lifted after 30 days when the riders were able to prove a banned substance in their horses was the result of feed manufacturing contamination.
Although the riders were cleared the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has refused to lift the two-month provisional suspensions of the horses Horizon ridden by Adrienne at small tour and Don Principe ridden by Kaitlin in Under-25.
Both riders are free to resume competition immediately and clears the way for Adrienne of Ketchum, Idaho to compete Salvino in the The Dutta Corp. United States Grand Prix championships and Harmony’s Duval in the Intermediate 1 at Gladstone, New Jersey May 17-21. Adrienne is also eligible to seek to go to Europe to compete.
Horizon and Don Principe ridden by Kaitlin, of Rougemont, North Carolina are still provisionally suspended with another 30 days of the two-month suspensions to go. Both horses had qualified for the Festival of Champions but unless the suspension are lifted will not be allowed to compete.
A statement on behalf of Kaitlin and Maryanna Haymon, owner of Don Principe, and Adrienne and Elizabeth Juliano, owner of Horizon, said:
“We are pleased that, in recognition of the evidence showing that Don Principe and Horizon tested positive as a result of ingesting a product contaminated with trace levels of ractopamine, the provisional suspensions of Kaitlin Blythe and Adrienne Lyle have been lifted.
“But, despite being presented with test results showing that Don Príncipe and Horizon no longer have ractopamine in their systems, the FEI has refused to lift its two-month suspensions of the horses.
“We are currently challenging this decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and we expect a ruling in the near future.
“We do not feel that it would be appropriate to comment further on the matter until the CAS has considered it and issued a ruling.”
Drug testing at a CDI3* at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in February detected the banned substance ractopamine in both horses, though they are stabled at different barns and have no caretaking connection.
The 60-day suspension for detection of the product that is widely used in the United States to boost weight in swine and cattle but is not known to be performance-enhancing was imposed by the FEI and went into effect April 5.
Suspension of the riders, however, could have been as much as two years until April 2019 and would have prevented Adrienne from competing not only Horizon but also the 10-year-old stallion Salvino that has started international Grand Prix and is a contender for the United States team at the World Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September 2018.
However, analysis by feed manufacturer Cargill of all retained samples of products fed to Horizon and Don Principe at the time of the drug testing found ractopamine in “Soothing Pink” given to horses in training prone to occasional gastric upsets.
Elizabeth Juliano, a successful business woman who owns Horizon and is a member of the syndicate that owns Salvino, provided support for testing and legal services.
Disclosure of the finding in favor of the riders came on the 25th birthday of Kaitlin, who began competing Don Principe at Under-25 this year after six years of Grand Prix with three different riders.
At the U.S championships known as the Festival of Champions Adrienne, 32 years old of Ketchum, Idaho will compete Salvino, 10-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Salvino Partners at Grand Prix and Harmony’s Duval, a nine-year-old KWPN gelding.
Adrienne who rode Wizard for the United States at the 2012 Olympics in London and at the 2014 World Games in Normandy is considered one of the top American riders with an unimpeachable reputation. She has been an assistant trainer with Debbie McDonald for the past decade.
Kaitlin competed as a junior and young rider in the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships before moving up to the Under-25 ranks with Don Principe.
A similar case involving the same substance in England took two years and $300,000 for the rider to be cleared although the manufacturer of the product admitted fault. The CAS, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, rejected as unreasonable the FEI stand that the rider was responsible no matter the circumstances.